Mapbox: A Year in Review 2023

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Dec 21, 2023

Mapbox: A Year in Review 2023

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Dec 21, 2023

2023 has been another busy year at Mapbox, with steady growth, exciting customer partnerships, and new product launches throughout the year. In recognition of our team and developer community, I’d like to share some key accomplishments from the year that especially stood out to me. From all of us at Mapbox, we hope you have a happy holiday and a prosperous new year!

Product launches enhance the developer experience

Our annual half-day virtual conference, BUILD with Mapbox, was a showcase of our latest product releases, upcoming features, and wider trends in location technology. I am thrilled to see how many of our product updates and feature releases focused on supporting developers to build efficiently and effectively with Mapbox.

Add intuitive frontend search with the Search Box API

The new Search Box API ensures a fast, user-friendly search experience by seamlessly integrating addresses, places, and POIs, serving 375M + addresses and 170M + POIs globally. Enhancements to our POI data pipeline this year have delivered richer data, enabled real-time updates, and doubled our coverage. Behind the scenes, advanced algorithms also provide search suggestions, location biasing, and fuzzy search. Best of all, the API streamlines the implementation of excellent search experiences, supported by extensive documentation and an interactive API playground.

Use geocoding and boundaries within the Snowflake cloud

For teams using Snowflake for data management and analysis, the new Mapbox Snowflake Native App allows Snowflake users to efficiently clean, aggregate, and analyze geospatial data using the Mapbox Geocoding API and Boundaries Data via simple SQL statements. 

Under the hood the Snowflake Native App is powered by Geocoding v6, the latest version of the Geocoding API that features improvements based on developer feedback, including higher-throughput batch processing and improved visibility into result accuracy.

3D is the new Mapbox Standard

The Mapbox Standard map style makes carefully curated and performant 3D experiences available to all developers. The style adds rich detail with landmark buildings, 3D terrain, and enhanced use of environmental features like lighting, fog, and depth of field.

The style also reduces the technical burden and cartographic expertise needed to maintain a style. With the addition of ‘slots’ for custom layers, developers no longer need to parse through 120+ layers to find where a custom layer should go. Additionally, Mapbox can now update the style and underlying map data without requiring developers to make manual upgrades.

Developer feedback informed both GL JS v3 and Mobile Maps SDKs v11

Our new GA versions of GLJS v3 and the Mobile Maps SDKs v11 include numerous enhancements based closely on extensive developer feedback and testing by customers. For example, the Mobile Maps SDKs v11 has been built with support for SwiftUI and Jetpack Compose declarative UI toolkits. Two new APIs were also introduced to help developers efficiently identify and analyze where performance issues occur: the Tracing API and The MapRecorder API (for iOS and Android).

New options for Dynamic View Annotations (iOS and Android) give developers more freedom to place view annotations, such as labels, using geometries other than points. For example, it is now possible to place a label on the corner of a building polygon or along a route line and have that label adjust dynamically as the camera moves.

Driving megatrends in Automotive software

At this year’s SoftBank World in Tokyo, I and Mapbox CTO Young Hahn shared how Mapbox is applying the power of AI to mapping and navigation for automotive systems in order to deliver safer, more intuitive, and comfortable journeys. Our keynote explores the four megatrends we are seeing at the nexus of AI and Automotive: 3D, autonomy, electrification, and GPT.

These trends have shaped our recent investments in automotive, and we are honored to have been selected as the "Navigation Technology Solution of the Year" for the second consecutive year by the 2023 AutoTech Breakthrough Awards. 

Mapbox for EV hits the streets

This year we formalized our investments into enhancing the EV user experience, with Mapbox for EV, a comprehensive end-to-end solution for EV optimized trip planning, real-time charge station information, and integrated charging payments. It is especially exciting to see our automotive partner BMW rolling out several 2024 EV vehicles equipped with Mapbox for EV features. 

Changing the game for autopilot systems

Did you know that automotive autopilot systems and autonomous driving systems today are seriously limited by the coverage and recency of the map data they rely on? Conventional approaches to creating high-definition automotive map data rely on slow and expensive fleets that focus primarily on highways, but that leaves gaps that cause autopilots to disengage. The new Mapbox Autopilot Map tackles this challenge by leveraging data from the sensors of ordinary vehicles on the road every day–ensuring more comprehensive coverage across road types and real-time information.

Infotainment that talks back, in a good way!

I am convinced that the arrival of MapGPT is going to completely redefine the driving experience and the expectations that drivers have of their in-car infotainment systems. MapGPT is a location-intelligent AI voice assistant designed for natural conversations and smart in-vehicle actions. MapGPT is another Mapbox product tailored for developers, offered as a customizable platform to create unique AI assistants that seamlessly integrate into applications and vehicles. The creativity and potential applications of MapGPT that I am already seeing in conversations with customers are incredibly exciting.

Positive impact continues to scale up across sectors

One of the most rewarding aspects of building location technologies designed to add value across such a diversity of industries is seeing how our customers in the non-profit and sustainability sectors are applying them, as we explore in our first annual Sustainability Report for 2022. I am proud to say that in 2023, Mapbox made over $2.3 million in product donations and sponsorships to our community of positive impact partners, which includes three partners with innovative solutions for reforestation, ocean cleanup, and infrastructure development.

Growing a Mapbox forest in the Philippines, and beyond

EcoMatcher is a B-Corporation that plants trees with carefully vetted partners and uses a digital blockchain-based platform to track each individual tree, partnering with companies to give the planted trees as meaningful corporate gifts, rewards or prizes, or for employee engagement (as we have, with 1750 trees in the Philippines!). This year the developers at EcoMatcher launched map visualizations for web and mobile, built using Mapbox GL JS and Mapbox Mobile Maps SDKs, that transport viewers and tree ‘owners’ to visit every planted tree in beautiful detail. 

The maritime industry tackles ocean pollution with mobile maps

Eyesea, a nonprofit organization run by volunteers from across the shipping and maritime industries, mobilizes individuals to collect data and geotagged photos of ocean debris using a mobile app. The data is used by Eyesea partners across the industry to plan and execute clean-up efforts. In response to enthusiastic adoption, Eyesea launched an updated app this year built with Flutter and Mapbox to improve app performance and reliability, and we’re continuing to collaborate on a user-friendly pollution analysis and data management platform.

Location intelligence for rural infrastructure projects

This summer, Bridges to Prosperity launched the first version of Fika Map, a groundbreaking location intelligence tool built with Mapbox GL JS and featuring 3D terrain and detailed satellite imagery. Fika Map is a decision-support tool that equips government leaders and local communities with actionable insights for planning infrastructure projects in rural, low-income areas. A machine learning model processes imagery and training data from field-based needs assessments to predict terrain obstacles that may be difficult or impossible for rural residents to cross and combines this with insights on expected costs and impacts on the local population.

Onwards to 2024

There is incredible momentum for the coming year, building on the innovations and launches we’ve seen in 2023. I can’t wait to see what our community of customers and developers will create in 2024 and thank you for the journey we have ahead.

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