Using the style editing tools in Mapbox Studio, I created a custom map style for wildlife-themed visualizations. I then put my style into action to show locations of bird conservation across New York State. Here’s a walk-through of how I designed the wildlife map and tips for your next style.

A forest green color palette was an obvious starting point for a wildlife map. When choosing fonts and patterns, I drew inspiration from the appearance of classic field guides. Subtle textures and custom icons bring the whole style together and emphasize parks on the map.

Lake Tahoe at the border of California and Nevada

The Great Smoky Mountains

Coastline along Washington state

I wanted to make a map that would be a beautiful, yet non-distracting, backdrop for interesting data visualizations. Regional open data resources are a great place to start looking for data that tells the story you want. I found this dataset of designated bird conservation areas in New York on the New York State website.

After uploading the data to Studio, I designed the appearance of the points alongside the base map itself. The dataset warns that the conservation sites are approximate and abstract in size, so I tweaked the transparency and blur of the data points to reflect this.

Mapbox Studio gives you the ability to make maps that tell the story you want. Get started with Studio to make your own custom map style.