We released new Mapbox Light and Dark maps last week as a part of our broader map redesign and relaunch. We have offered updates to Light and Dark in the past, but this iteration presented an opportunity to make larger changes to the pair.

Though much has changed about these maps, our fundamental goals for Light and Dark are not different from past versions: each remains a versatile map designed to complement a wide variety of visualizations and overlays. Thinking how we could improve the maps on these terms, however, has led to significant changes.

Feeling that the maps could provide better context to overlaid content, we have added data back into these versions of the map. Light and Dark benefit from the new data featured in all our redesigned maps, but we also returned data that had been previously removed. These are the most data dense versions of Mapbox Light and Dark we have ever offered, and we are excited to see how they add a new level of context to your projects.

We have also completely overhauled the color systems for both Light and Dark. Just as we knew these maps would benefit from additional data, we also wanted to use color to introduce a greater sense of depth. As their names suggest, these maps operate within relatively constrained color spaces, but we developed a palette of subtly saturated light and dark tones to differentiate land use, land cover, water, and building layers. The differences between each are subtle – overlaid data still stand out – but even slight variations in saturation and hue improve the legibility of each element and provide a richer context.

We approached Light and Dark’s redesign looking to bolster their role as underlays by adding more visual information and depth without distracting from their core mission. Explore Mapbox them both further, and start building with Light and Dark today!