MapBox Launches TileStream Hosting and Announces the TileMill Appliance
You can now sign up for TileStream Hosting, our fast and fully managed hosting service for maps made with TileMill (or for any MBTiles files). We've also released the first details on the TileMill Appliance, a plug in and go map design studio configured with TileMill and TileStream and built to run behind an office firewall or offline out in the field. TileStream Hosting is live now, and the TileMill Appliance will ship this summer - we're currently taking pre-orders.
These two offerings bring real commercial support and new functionality to the existing open source design tools from MapBox, and further our goal of making it easier to design and share highly custom, gorgeous maps to help people tell better stories with complex data.
How TileStream Hosting Works
TileStream Hosting is a high performance map tile hosting service. The MapBox infrastructure is designed to serve map tiles incredibly fast across a globally distributed CDN, and it's highly redundant.
It's also simple to use. You just upload your maps (in MBTiles format exported from TileMill) to TileStream via Dropbox (which is set up for you in the start up process). Your maps will then show up immediately in the TileStream Hosting dashboard and will be ready to be integrated into your websites and apps using a simple embed code. Here is a walk through of how the service works:
Every map hosted in TileStream Hosting has detailed analytics collected on it that you can browse on the interactive dashboard. You can see exactly where on your map people are zooming into, and using refined filters you can see each map's traffic over time as well as where visitors are coming from.
TileStream Hosting is more than just fast map hosting. It also comes with a map builder that lets you overlay and combine all the maps you host, and then export them as a widget with full map interactivity. This feature lets you leverage Google Maps and the OpenLayers API all without touching code. It works like embedding a YouTube video into a website.
This service is fully managed and costs $499/month. All accounts come with unlimited data transfers for up to 20 different tilesets. There's also no longterm commitment - you just pay monthly for each month that you use the service.
The TileMill Appliance: 100% Supported
The TileMill Appliance is fully configured hardware. Nothing needs to be installed - you just plug it in and will be designing custom maps within five minutes. Both TileMill and TileSteam ship already configured on it, and the appliance is fully networked, allowing you and your office to access mapping projects together via ethernet or WiFi. If you haven't used the TileMill map design studio yet, check out Tom and Will's screencast on how TileMill works to see how intuitive the software is.
The TileMill Appliance is built for speed. The 3.4 GHz quad-core processor is designed for fast rendering speeds at high zoom levels, and it can handle multiple large rendering jobs simultaneously. It's also a beautifully designed, highly portable box, coming in under 10 pounds and measuring just 13" x 8.5" x 3.5". It will look great in your office and will easily fit in an overhead bin when you need to take it on the road. You can see more details on what's under the hood at MapBox.com/tilemill.
The TileMill Appliance is 100% supported. It's simple. If there is ever a problem with your appliance, we'll ship you a new one overnight. All you'll need to do is take your new appliance out of the box, copy your data and maps to it, and put the old one in a pre-packaged box to return it back to us. You will be up and running again in under 24 hours, with no IT staff needed.
The TileMill Appliance will cost $999/month and can be shipped worldwide. You can pre-order it here.
The MapBox Stack: How This All Works Together
MapBox takes you from data to design to device. Here is a look at how the whole stack does this working with TileMill and TileStream to tie the pieces together.
Drop us a line if you have any questions at email@example.com. And if you're using TileMill or the open source code for TileStream, feedback is very welcome at support.mapbox.com.