Mapbox Studio Classic is no longer in active development. To learn more about our newer mapping tools see the Mapbox Studio Manual.

Mapbox Studio Classic

Current version: v0.3.8

No longer in active development

Mapbox Studio Classic is a legacy desktop application for building custom maps powered by vector tiles.

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Mapbox Studio Classic is a legacy desktop application for building custom maps. This manual contains information on how Mapbox Studio Classic works, some guidance on best practices, and a comprehensive application reference.

Using this manual

This manual contains a comprehensive explanation of Mapbox Studio Classic, including narrative descriptions of how to use different parts of the tool and tutorials with guided walk throughs of specific projects.

  • Manual — The Manual section is the reference portion of this document. It contains both technical descriptions of the Mapbox Studio Classic interface as well as conceptual explanations of the map components you’re working with.
  • Tutorials — The Tutorials section contains several step-by-step guides for creating custom projects in Mapbox Studio Classic.

What is Mapbox Studio Classic?

Mapbox Studio Classic is a desktop application for designing beautiful maps and converting custom data into compact vector tiles — a fast map tile specification. Map data is hosted remotely as vector data, completely separate from the map style, which means smaller uploads, multiple style variations on the same data, and faster design iterations.

How does it work?

Digital maps are made up of three major parts — geospatial data, styling rules describing how the data should look, and a tool that takes those and displays a map. In the case of Mapbox Studio Classic, geospatial data are formatted as tilesets, style rules are written as CartoCSS, and the map is rendered by Mapnik.

comparison of geospatial data in Mapbox Studio Classic's source mode and a styled map in style mode

*Shown left:* source mode, *shown right:* style mode.

In source and style modes within Mapbox Studio Classic, you can accomplish two of these three major tasks:

  • Create vector tiles using custom data you provide (source).
  • Design maps with CartoCSS using Mapbox or custom data sources (style).

Mapbox Studio Classic doesn’t render your map itself; it provides the tools to create your sources and styles which, once uploaded to your Mapbox account, can be rendered by Mapnik.

Getting started

Before moving forward, make sure to download and install Mapbox Studio Classic so you’ll be able to follow along with the Manual and Tutorials.

Next section:


Learn how to create and manage sources in Mapbox Studio Classic.