Customer story

Lonely Planet

The 45-year-old brand for trusted travel advice extends their branded city maps onto web and mobile platforms with customized maps that work offline.

Our mission at Lonely Planet is to help travelers around the world get to the heart of a destination, and maps are central to that. For 45 years, our cartographers have been building maps, first by hand with glue and film, and now by partnering with platforms like Mapbox to build the most innovative digital map experiences our users have come to expect.

Diego Jiménez
Head of Mobile Product & Design

Executive summary

  • Lonely Planet uses GL JS, our Maps SDKs for iOS and Android, and Mapbox’s Geocoding API and offline capabilities for the maps in their web and app properties, including their Guides app and Trips app.
  • Lonely Planet’s Guide app is loved by users, with a 4.9/5 ranking in the iOS app store.
  • 90% of customer reviews indicate maps and offline functionality as a reason they use Lonely Planet apps.

When founders Tony and Maureen Wheeler launched Lonely Planet in 1973, their first set of maps were hand-drawn, glued together, and compiled on the kitchen table. Things have changed a lot since then!

Nowadays travelers use to get inspired for their next trip, they use our famous guidebooks to learn everything about the destination, and they use our mobile apps to explore on the ground and share their travel experiences.

Lonely Planet uses our Maps SDK for Mobile and GL JS to build interactive mobile maps, Studio to customize map styles, and our Geocoding API for in-app search of landmarks and other points of interest. Our offline maps capabilities make it easy for app users to browse maps without relying on roaming data or worrying about spotty service areas. Together, these functions power apps that engage travelers as they plan a trip, while they’re traveling, and after they return home.

Offline access is one of the most cited features in the Lonely Planet app reviews

From print to digital

Lonely Planet turned to our Maps SDK for Android and iOS, GL JS, and Studio to translate their iconic print maps into interactive digital maps. Colorful, custom designed recommendation icons dot the specially-made minimalist base map.

Lonely Planet’s brand is recognizable across their print and digital properties.

Mapbox Studio gives the team full control over what users see when they explore the map. When a user opens the map, they see just enough map labels to provide context to the bright POI markers without overwhelming the screen. When a user zooms in, more granular labels appear to help them navigate to restaurants, bars, shops and landmarks in the area. When location is shared, users can find relevant points of interest near them, toggling by activity type.

Branded maps, online and off

Offline functionality & maps have been two of the most referenced features in reviews for our Guides app, with over 90% of customers indicating them as a reason they use the app.

Knowing that customers may not always be near wifi or using cellular data while roaming, Lonely Planet took advantage of the offline maps built into our Maps SDK for Android or iOS. They incorporated offline maps into their Guides app, so users can see and interact with the map anywhere in the world even when they’re in New York, New Delhi or over 200 other cities around the globe.

Lonely Planet continues to explore new ideas

Looking to the future, the Lonely Planet team plans to continue building tools to make it easier for travelers to explore cities and tell their travel stories. They are working on new versions of their Guides app, to align the web and app experiences even more closely, build new bookable activities and a list view into the app, and begin testing new AR and navigations features. They are also hyper-focused on localization and accessibility, to ensure that all of their travel experiences are available to the broadest group of travelers around the world.

We want our customers to plan even more of their trip using our app, such as booking experiences and managing their itineraries. And we’re dedicated to building products that are available to anyone who wants to travel and explore.





Consumer Technology


Online community and social following of over 18 million

Products used

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