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Create a map in Unity

This tutorial will walk you through how to create a visualization of 3D buildings on top of a 3D terrain map for use in a Unity application. You will:

  • Set up a Mapbox project in Unity.
  • Learn about the Mapbox-specific terminology, tools, and services you’ll use to build your visualization.
  • Add a map to your scene.
  • Customize your map for your specific needs.
  • Learn how to add buildings and other vector data.

This tutorial is for versions 1.4.0 and beyond. If you are using version 1.3.0 or earlier, read the mesh generation tutorials instead.

Getting started

Before getting started, you’ll need to:

  1. Install the Mapbox Maps SDK for Unity. For full installation instructions, visit https://www.mapbox.com/unity-sdk.
  2. Create an empty Unity project.
  3. Configure your Mapbox access token in your Unity project. For token configuration instructions, visit http://www.mapbox.com/unity-sdk/#token.

Set up your project

Your new, empty scene will need a Map object in order to display a map. We provide a Map prefab already that you can drag and drop into your scene.

where to find the Map prefab

This Map object comes with an Abstract Map script, where you can adjust map settings like location, map style, elevation, and more.

To see what the default Map looks like, hit Play.

default map in Unity

Congratulations, you have a map! Note that you may need to change the camera’s position to see the map properly in the Game panel, but you can see it clearly in the Scene panel.

Customize your map

Now you’ll learn how to style two kinds of maps: one with rich satellite imagery and elevation data, and one with vector data to show buildings. You will learn how to use various settings in Abstract Map to change a map’s location, map style, elevation, and vector layers.

Create a map of Mt. Hood, Oregon

Select your Map object and look at the Inspector window. Under the Abstract Map general settings, either change the location to 45.374218, -121.688341 or search “Mt Hood”. Set the zoom level to 13. Open the “Others” settings and toggle Snap Map to Zero.

map settings for Mt Hood

Now open the image settings and change the Data Source to “Mapbox Satellite”. Finally, open the terrain settings and change the Elevation Layer Type to “Terrain with Elevation”.

map settings for Mt Hood

Save your scene and hit play. Switch to your Scene panel and you’ll see something like this:

map of Mt Hood

Now you’ll make a map of downtown Manhattan!

Create a map of downtown Manhattan

To make this map of Manhattan, you can either start over in a new scene, or change the settings in your existing scene. It’s up to you!

First set the location to 40.706843, -74.011370 or search “New York Stock Exchange”, and set the zoom level to 17. Next, go to the image settings and change the Data Source to “Mapbox Dark”. In the terrain settings, change the Elevation Layer Type to “Flat Terrain”.

map settings for Manhattan

Now open up the vector settings. Change the Data Source to “Mapbox Streets”. Create a new visualizer by clicking the “Add Visualizer” button. It will now show up in the vector layer visualizers list as “Untitled”. Click it and hit the Enter key to rename it to “Buildings”.

vector settings for Manhattan

Click your “Buildings” visualizer and find the Extrusion Type setting. Change it to “Property Height”. Next, look for the Material Options setting. Next to Roof Material and Wall Material is a small circular icon. Click it, and select ”BuildingMaterial” for both.

building settings for Manhattan

Hit play to see Manhattan with buildings!

map of Manhattan

Next steps

Congratulations on making your first few maps. To learn more about what you can do with Mapbox Maps SDK for Unity, check out the SDK documentation.