Over 100 Global Cities with 3D Landmarks in Mapbox Standard

The Mapbox Standard style offers an immersive urban experience with detailed 3D landmarks and airports for over 100 cities, with more being added each month.

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May 13, 2024

Over 100 Global Cities with 3D Landmarks in Mapbox Standard

The Mapbox Standard style offers an immersive urban experience with detailed 3D landmarks and airports for over 100 cities, with more being added each month.

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May 13, 2024

Fukuoka, Japan in Mapbox Standard. See Fukuoka on our interactive map.

The Mapbox Standard style improves location context and enhances the way users navigate and explore cities. One way we accomplish this is with a stunning collection of 3D landmarks, which makes it easier to orient and align the real world with the map world. The style currently has custom-designed models in over 100 cities. We just recently added landmarks for many cities in Japan. We also built 15 custom airport models including London Heathrow, Amsterdam Schiphol, New York’s John F. Kennedy and Tokyo Haneda airports.

With that in mind, we wanted to give more insight into our process of selecting and designing landmarks as well as how we choose cities and plan their coverage.

Paris Charles-de-Gaulle airport. See the airport on our interactive map.

Choosing Which Landmarks to Include

Our 3D models include the most renowned tourist landmarks, as well as essential spaces like stations, stadiums, conference halls, and prominent logos. Additionally, we consider the most important or tallest buildings that shape a city's skyline, while maintaining a delicate balance between density and visual appeal.

We aim for full coverage of a city. See this map of Tokyo from a distance without extrusions and notice how they’re not concentrated in just one part of the city. See Tokyo on our interactive map.

Our goal is to create urban landscapes that are visually stunning and also practical for navigation purposes on z14-16. To achieve this, we meticulously distribute 3D landmarks throughout the metropolitan area, taking into account the historical and urban plan characteristics of each city. Typically we adopt either a monocentric or polycentric approach. The former is suitable for cities with a dense historical center and a few more scattered landmarks elsewhere. The latter concentrates landmarks in various clusters such as downtown, commercial areas and entertainment districts. Certain cities require unique approaches. For example, Las Vegas presents a distinct challenge with its long central hotel strip.

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LA
Munich
Vegas
Left: Los Angeles is an American/modern polycentric city. Middle: Munich is a European/old monocentric city. Right: Las Vegas requires custom coverage due to its dense lengthy strip of landmarks.

New Airport Models

Airports are critical landmarks for transportation and travel. They often have complex road networks and include parking areas, transit transfer stations, and multiple terminals that are difficult to navigate between. Many Mapbox customers will appreciate the additional context provided by these realistic 3D models which makes it easier to find your way to and around these airports. We ultimately see these models helping rideshare drivers better find pickup locations, helping travelers more easily find their gate, or adding additional context to travel booking and planning apps - amongst many other uses.

London Heathrow airport. See the airport on our interactive map.

3D Landmark Characteristics

Our approach to designing these 3D landmarks is based on symbolic realism. The models are distinctly recognizable without being so realistically designed that they distract from icons, labels and custom location data.

Left: Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. Right: La Sagrada Familia in Barcelona. See Notre Dame on our interactive map. See La Sagrade Familia on our interactive map.

Each artist-created custom model contains roofs, windows, walls, entrances and even helipads on roofs. Static logos are added to appropriate venues, stadiums and headquarters.

London Stadium, London. See London Stadium on our interactive map.

Entrances are highlighted and easy to recognize even from a distant zoom, facilitating efficient arrival experiences.

Entrances are clearly lit in Paris Gare du Nord station. See Gare du Nord on our interactive map.

We strive to capture details of a building’s design and key architectural features to guarantee the recognizability of a landmark from a distance. In addition to the building outline itself, we design external elements like sculptures. We also pay attention to distinctive patterns on the surface.

While the Arc de Triomphe is instantly recognizable, we still choose to add architectural details such as insets and sculptures. See the Arc de Triomphe on our interactive map.

Finally, to enhance the realism of the map, our 3D landmarks accurately respond to four curated lighting presets - Day, Night, Dusk, and Dawn. Shifting shadows and entrance lights further immerse users in the map experience, bringing it closer to reality.

The Barbican reacts to changes in light during dawn, day, dusk and night. See the barbican on our interactive map.

Global Coverage of Landmarks

As of May 2024, Mapbox Standard offers custom-designed landmarks in over 100 cities worldwide. North America and Europe have 38 and 37 cities respectively. Japan has 17 cities. There are also 15 global airports.  Additionally, we’ve covered Brazil, Australia, Singapore and Shanghai.

In 2024, we are on our way to making landmarks available across all major cities in NAFTA, Europe, Japan, and Oceania regions, as well as key cities in Mercosul, ASEAN, and the Middle East. By mid-2025, we’re working to cover 300 cities worldwide.

Get Started with Mapbox Standard

You can explore all existing 3D landmarks and city coverage across the globe in our Mapbox Standard demo

Mapbox Standard is currently available in the latest versions of our Maps SDKs. You can find directions on how to migrate to these latest versions in our GL JS v3 migration guide for web maps, and our Mobile Maps SDKs v11 migrations guides for iOS and Android.

If you’d like to get started using Mapbox, sign up for a Mapbox account, then visit the above mentioned migration guides for information about our latest versions.

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