Maps are composed of carefully selected and simplified data: the maker’s challenge is to include context and data without adding clutter. To make this task easier for cartographers, designers, and developers, the new Mapbox Studio, coming this fall, includes an intuitive new way to browse and curate map data.

The essence of a Mapbox GL Stylesheet is its sources and its layers. A source links a stylesheet to online data, such as Mapbox Streets. A layer takes that data and makes it visible by styling it as lines, points, or polygons.

Starting with the ‘Empty’ template, we can create a new style in the new Mapbox Studio:


It’s a little blank. Let’s add a beige background. Backgrounds don’t require a source, because they simply cover the whole map.


Let’s distinguish land from the sea by adding a water layer. Water is available within Mapbox Streets.


Now we’re ready to add highways. Roads are also in Mapbox Streets; let’s add them to our map:


In our map we’re seeing all roads, but we only want highways. To select highways, we can specify a filter. Filters are logical expressions that control which features are displayed in a layer. Let’s restrict our roads layer to only select highways:


When editing the source of a layer, we enter into X-Ray mode. X-ray allows inspection of every feature available from all data sources loaded by the style. Once data is selected, it appears in X-ray as a bright color (the color is based on the data source); non-selected features are gray. As we create and refine the filter, the selected features are highlighted to show what the filter includes.

Additionally, Mapbox Studio knows what properties are available in the data source and even their values and datatypes. Using this information, intelligent forms guide you through creating filters, showing a list of available properties and property values.

Custom data is core to Mapbox Studio. When uploading a dataset with the interface or the Mapbox Uploads API, it becomes available for styling, just like Mapbox Streets.

The new Mapbox Studio will be available this fall. Interested in early access? Sign up for the beta.