A tileset is a collection of raster or vector data broken up into a uniform grid of square tiles at 22 preset zoom levels. Tilesets are used in Mapbox libraries and SDKs as a core piece of making maps visible on mobile devices or in the browser. They are also the main mechanism we use for determining map views.

Tilesets are highly cacheable and load quickly. Mapbox relies heavily on both raster and vector tilesets to keep our maps fast and efficient. For more information on working with tilesets, check out the Mapbox Studio manual.

Tilesets can be raster or vector. The differences are outlined below:

Raster tilesets

Raster tilesets are created when uploading raster images to Mapbox Studio as TIFFs/GeoTIFFs. They are used in both modern and classic Mapbox tools to display maps as a grid of images that can be loaded when necessary on the map. You can use raster tilesets in Mapbox Studio, Mapbox GL JS, and within the Mapbox Mobile SDKs.

Traditional web mapping libraries, like Mapbox.js and Leaflet, also use raster tiles to display your map on a web page. All classic styles created in Mapbox Studio Classic consist of raster tilesets as well.

Vector tilesets

Vector tilesets are the vector data equivalent of raster tilesets – instead of storing raster data in the form of pixels, vector tilesets store vector data in the form of points, lines, and polygons as vector tiles. Vector tiles can be manipulated and queried. They can be used as sources for styles or queried directly to create interactive experiences with Mapbox Mobile SDKs and Mapbox GL JS.

When uploading vector data (GeoJSON, Shapefile, KML, or GPX) to your Mapbox account, your data is automatically converted to a vector tileset.