Runtime styling

Using Runtime styling, you're able to dynamically change the look and feel of your map in real time. Lighten or darken the map based on the time of day, personalize icons and the colors of parks based on your users’ activity, switch languages on the fly, or bump the size of labels based on user preferences to improve legibility. Style existing map data or mix in your own – Runtime Styling is performant even with massive datasets.

Runtime styling expands upon the design power of Mapbox Studio and exposes all the same properties and attributes directly to mobile developers in our SDK.

If you'd like to add simple annotations on your map quickly, you might want to make use of the annotations offered.


Sources hold the data for layers to use in your map. There are a handful of different source types supported, choosing one depends on your data type. Adding a source won't instantly make data appear on the map because sources don't contain styling details like color or width. Layers refer to a source and give it a visual representation.

When creating a new source, two parameters are required, a source ID (String) and the source date.


Vector source tiles must be in Mapbox Vector Tile format. All layers that use a vector source must specify a "source-layer" value. For vector tiles hosted by Mapbox, the "url" value should be of the form mapbox://mapid.

// Adding a vector source layer
VectorSource vectorSource = new VectorSource("vector-source", "mapbox://mapbox.mapbox-terrain-v2");


Raster source tiles can be added to your map if they are in TileJSON format. If hosted by Mapbox, the "url" value should be of the form mapbox://mapid.

// Adding a raster source layer
RasterSource rasterSource = new RasterSource("raster-source", "mapbox://mapbox.u8yyzaor");


Adding a GeoJSON source can be done in a few different ways. Providing a URL to the GeoJSON raw data hosted online (or locally inside the assets folder for example) or you can build your own GeoJSON feature collection directly inside the code. The snippets of code below show the different ways to add a GeoJSON source to your map.

Add a GeoJSON source from URL:

URL geoJsonUrl = new URL("https://url-to-geojson-file.geojson");
GeoJsonSource geoJsonSource = new GeoJsonSource("geojson-source", geoJsonUrl);

Load a locally stored GeoJSON file and add it to your map as a source:

// Either use the method provided below or your preferred way of loading in a JSON file.
private String loadJsonFromAsset(String filename) throws IOException {
// loads in GeoJSON files from the assets folder.
InputStream is = getAssets().open(filename);
int size = is.available();
byte[] buffer = new byte[size];;
return new String(buffer, "UTF-8");
GeoJsonSource source = new GeoJsonSource("geojson-source", loadJsonFromAsset("local_file.geojson"));

Create a GeoJSON feature collection and then add it to your map:

// Create a list to store our line coordinates.
List routeCoordinates = new ArrayList<Position>();
routeCoordinates.add(Position.fromCoordinates(-118.394391, 33.397676));
routeCoordinates.add(Position.fromCoordinates(-118.370917, 33.391142));
// Create the LineString from the list of coordinates and then make a GeoJSON
// FeatureCollection so we can add the line to our map as a layer.
LineString lineString = LineString.fromCoordinates(routeCoordinates);
FeatureCollection featureCollection =
FeatureCollection.fromFeatures(new Feature[]{Feature.fromGeometry(lineString)});
GeoJsonSource geoJsonSource = new GeoJsonSource("geojson-source", featureCollection);

A benefit of having your data inside a GeoJSON source is that you can update, remove, or add additional features inside the source at any time, providing a solution to animating data in your map through the Runtime Styling API. For example, using an Android ValueAnimator, you can move a feature by updating its coordinates within the GeoJSON data.


While sources hold the data, layers are used to style and display the information. Several layer types are offered depending on your source geometry. Except for layers of the background type, each layer needs to refer to a source. You can optionally filter features and then define how those features are styled.

Each layer offers a setProperties API which can be used to style the layer in many different ways. Note that instead of creating different layers depending on certain cases inside your source data, it's recommended to use data-driven styling instead to reduce the number of layers the map needs to render.


The background layer type is unique in that it doesn't require a source. Background layers can be a solid color or a pattern.

BackgroundLayer backgroundLayer = new BackgroundLayer("background-layer");


Fill layers have an enclosed shape geometry that can be useful for marking areas on a map. The geometry's similar to a line layer consisting of a series of coordinates in a particular order with the first and last points having the same coordinate.

FillLayer fillLayer = new FillLayer("layer-id", "source-id");

To alter the shape of the geometry once you have added it, the layer can remain with no changes needed, only the source it's using should be updated. The layer will always display the latest updates inside its source.


A series of coordinates can be combined to create a line segment that shows on a map. Between each pair of coordinates, a line segment's created which gets drawn straight and connects the two points.

Before beginning, you'll want to ensure that the Source your layer will be using has lineStrings as part of its geometry, an example creating this can be seen in the GeoJSON source section. Once the source has been created and added to the map, a lineLayer can be initiated, and properties can be set.

LineLayer lineLayer = new LineLayer("line-layer", "line-source");
// The layer properties for our line. This is where we make the line dotted, set the
// color, etc.
PropertyFactory.lineDasharray(new Float[]{0.01f, 2f}),


Symbol layers indicate a single position on the map with either an icon or text label. Similar to GL Markers and Marker Views, the symbol layer can represent the same data and offers the most power for in map displaying. To begin with, we will show how to add a marker image to the map and then display it as your symbol layer.

Bitmap icon = BitmapFactory.decodeResource(getResources(), R.drawable.my_marker_icon);
mapboxMap.addImage("my-marker-image", icon);
SymbolLayer symbolLayer = new SymbolLayer("layer-id", "source-id");

Not only can symbol layers mark locations on the map using an image, but they can also display text directly on the map. Text symbol layers are done in a similar process to the image snippet given above, only the properties of the layer change.

SymbolLayer selectedMarker = new SymbolLayer("selected-marker-layer", "selected-marker")


Raster layers are typically a collection of images that display on top of the base map tiles. While Vector tiles are preferred, satellite imagery or legacy map styles render as a raster layer.

RasterSource rasterSource = new RasterSource("source-id", "mapbox://mapbox.u8yyzaor");
RasterLayer rasterLayer = new RasterLayer("layer-id", "source-id");


Circle layers have a single center coordinate which comes from the source data. It's a geographically accurate projection of a circle on the Earth's surface drawn on the map. A few default properties are provided but can be overriddenwhen the layers first created.

VectorSource vectorSource = new VectorSource("source-id", "mapbox://mapbox.2opop9hr");
CircleLayer circleLayer = new CircleLayer("layer-id", "source-id");
PropertyFactory.circleColor(Color.argb(1, 55, 148, 179))


A filter selects specific features from a layer. A filter is an array of one of the following forms:

Filter.notInCheck the property is not within the given set
Filter.inCheck the property is within the given set
Filter.lteCheck the property equals or does not exceeds the given value
Filter.ltCheck the property does not exceed the given value
Filter.gteCheck the property exceeds or equals the given value
Filter.gtCheck the property exceeds the given value
Filter.neqCheck the property does not equal the given value
Filter.eqCheck the property equals the given value
Filter.notHasCheck the property's existence, negated
Filter.hasCheck the property's existence
Filter.noneGroups a collection of statements in an 'none' relationship
Filter.anyGroups a collection of statements in an 'any' relationship
Filter.allGroups a collection of statements in an 'all' relationship

A key must be a string that identifies a feature property or a special key. Read more on filters here

Modify properties

Sources and layers aren't immutable and therefore, can be modified anytime during the map render. For example, to alter the fill color of a layer after it's been added to the map, you use the mapboxMap object to get the layer and set the property.

FillLayer fillLayer = (FillLayer) mapboxMap.getLayer("fill-layer-id");
if (fillLayer != null) {

In a GeoJSON source, you are able to modify, add, remove, or replace the FeatureCollection like so:

GeoJsonSource geoJsonSource = (GeoJsonSource) mapboxMap.getSource("geojson-source-id");
if (geoJsonSource != null) {

Capturing click events

Layers are not clickable and don't expose any event listeners for you to handle user input. Instead, the map querying feature described in a separate doc go over how to detect when a user has clicked on a polygon inside your fill layer for example.