We’ve been quietly rolling out new features to the MapBox custom style editor. When used together they can really expand the styles and design options available to MapBox users. Here’s a summary of what’s new and how to take advantage of our latest features.

Buildings layer

With the latest update to MapBox Streets, buildings are now available as a separate layer from streets. You can now render minimally abstract buildings-only maps, or drop buildings from your street map entirely for a clean look and to leave more open spaces for your background below.

Buildings

Opacity slider

Streets, buildings, and areas now come with an opacity slider letting you apply a range of translucency levels to your map. Use these as a quick way to lower the contrast on your map or to get more advanced color blending between your layers.

Opacity

Transparent mode

MapBox Streets now makes use of the same advanced hextree PNG encoding used by Mapnik. This allows you to drop the background color on map tiles but keep a smooth, crisp edge on indexed PNGs with alpha channels. In the example below, I’ve put a wood texture below my custom map with transparent mode.

Transparent

Kudos to John Keefe (@jkeefe) of the WNYC data news team who discovered this feature weeks ago and began using it right away:

Up next

As always, all these features are available when you sign up for a MapBox account. We’ll keep the posts coming as we’ve got much more in store as we close out 2012.