Mapbox Studio Manual

Mapbox Studio is your home base for building custom maps with Mapbox. This manual contains information on how Mapbox Studio works, some guidance on best practices, and a comprehensive application reference.

Using this manual

This manual contains a comprehensive explanation of each section of Mapbox Studio, including general descriptions of individual components and detailed information on specific tools. It can be used either as a reference when using specific tools in Mapbox Studio, or as a way to understand the general pieces of how a Mapbox map is constructed.

  • Manual — The Manual section is the reference portion of this document. It contains both technical descriptions of the Mapbox Studio interface as well as conceptual explanations of the map components and workflows you’re working with.
  • Tutorials — The Tutorials section contains several step-by-step guides for creating styles in Mapbox Studio and using them in web and mobile applications.
  • Troubleshooting — The Troubleshooting section provides guidance for handling common errors when using Mapbox Studio.

What is Mapbox Studio?

Mapbox Studio is the Mapbox application for managing your geospatial data and designing custom map styles. Use Mapbox Studio to build and design a map to your exact specifications by uploading and editing your own data, utilizing Mapbox-provided tilesets, adding custom fonts and icons, or simply refining the built-in template map styles. With Mapbox Studio, full data management and design control are at your fingertips.

Create datasets

with the Mapbox Studio dataset editor

Create tilesets

to add custom data to map styles

Create map styles

with the Mapbox Studio style editor

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, we do the following:

Geospatial data: Mapbox uses tilesets as a geospatial data format when displaying maps. Tilesets are a lightweight storage format for both raster and vector data. When you upload data to Mapbox, it is stored as a tileset.
Styling rules: When you define how your data should be styled in the Mapbox Studio style editor, this information is stored in a JSON document that conforms to the Mapbox Style Specification.
Display: Whether you use the Mapbox iOS or Android SDKs on mobile or Mapbox GL JS on the web, we use a tool called Mapbox GL to put together the style JSON and the tilesets used in the style and draw your map.

Mapbox Studio provides tools for converting your data to tilesets and creating styles. It also includes a dataset editor, which you can use to create and edit data before converting to a tileset. Once you create a style, you can display your map using Mapbox GL JS or one of our mobile SDKs.


geographic information

Style JSON

instructions for styling

Sprites and glyphs

icons and fonts

Mapbox GL

a vector rendering framework for highly customizable and responsive client-side maps

Sample workflow

The flexibility of Mapbox Studio’s design supports many different workflows. Below is one possible workflow for creating a custom map style with your own data in Mapbox Studio. In this example, custom data is created with the dataset editor, exported to a tileset, styled in the style editor, and displayed on the web with Mapbox GL JS.

Next section:

The interface

Learn about the Mapbox Studio interface.

Additional questions? Ask our support team or learn more about How Mapbox Works.