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Getting Started

This API documentation covers the MapBox Javascript API, an API for adding MapBox maps to webpages.

Prerequisites

In order to use this API, you'll need to understand basic Javascript and mapping concepts. If you'd like to learn Javascript, start with an interactive course, a book or a printed book. If you'd like to learn more about maps, we've provided a helpful article explaining how web maps work.

MapBox.js & Leaflet

The Javascript API is implemented as a Leaflet plugin. Leaflet is an open-source library that provides the basic ability to embed a map, like a MapBox map or a map from OpenStreetMap, into a page. The Leaflet API handles much of the fundamental operations of using maps, so this API documentation is meant to be used in conjunction with the Leaflet API reference.

The MapBox API includes Leaflet and makes it easier to integrate Leaflet with MapBox's maps and services.

Getting Started with the API

Here's a simple page that you can set up with MapBox.js:

<html>
<head>
  <link href='http://api.tiles.mapbox.com/mapbox.js/v1.0.4/mapbox.css' rel='stylesheet' />
  <!--[if lte IE 8]>
    <link href='http://api.tiles.mapbox.com/mapbox.js/v1.0.4/mapbox.ie.css' rel='stylesheet' />
  <![endif]-->
  <script src='http://api.tiles.mapbox.com/mapbox.js/v1.0.4/mapbox.js'></script>
  <style>
    body { margin:0; padding:0; }
    #map { position:absolute; top:0; bottom:0; width:100%; }
  </style>
</head>
<body>
  <div id='map' class='dark'></div>
  <script type='text/javascript'>
  var map = L.mapbox.map('map', 'examples.map-y7l23tes')
      .setView([37.9, -77], 5);
  </script>
</body>
</html>

The necessary Javascript and CSS files for the map are hosted on MapBox's servers, so they're served from a worldwide content-distribution network. There's no API key required to include the Javascript API - you'll identify with MapBox's services simply by using your own custom maps.

Reading this Documentation

This documentation is organized by methods in the Javascript API. Each method is shown with potential arguments, and their types. For instance, the setFilter method on L.mapbox.markerLayer is documented as:

markerLayer.setFilter(filter: function)

The format filter: function means that the single argument to setFilter, a filter function, should be a Javascript function. Other kinds of arguments include object, string, or Element.

When the API has a Javascript constructor function that returns an object, the constructor is documented with its full name and the functions on the object are named with just the type of the object. For instance, L.mapbox.markerLayer documents a function that returns a layer for markers. The methods on that object are then documented as markerLayer.setFilter, markerLayer.getGeoJSON, and so on.

The `ready` Event

Like many other Javascript libraries, some of what the MapBox.js plugin does is asynchronous - when you create a layer like L.mapbox.tileLayer('examples.foo'), the layer doesn't immediately know which tiles to load and its attribution information. Instead, it loads this information with an AJAX call.

For most things you'll write, this isn't a problem, since MapBox.js does a good job of handling these on-the-fly updates. If you're writing code that needs to know when layers and other dynamically-loaded objects are ready, you can use the ready event to listen for their ready state. For instance:

var layer = L.mapbox.tileLayer('examples.map-0l53fhk2');
layer.on('ready', function() {
    // the layer has been fully loaded now, and you can
    // call .getTileJSON and investigate its properties
});

Similarly, dynamically-loaded objects produce an error event if something goes wrong, like if the map ID you provide is a 404:

var layer = L.mapbox.tileLayer('examples.map-0l53fhk2');
layer.on('error', function(err) {
    // for some reason, this layer didn't load.
    // you can find out more with the 'err' argument
    // passed to this function
});

TileJSON & UTFGrid

This library takes advantage of several open specifications, including TileJSON and UTFGrid.

For the purposes of this API, TileJSON is used as a way to describe maps and resources, so it is the configuration format given to layers, maps, and controls. UTFGrid is a fast way to interact with maps with tooltips and customizable behaviors, and is easy to define and produce in TileMill.

GeoJSON

The MapBox marker API and the L.mapbox.markers interface use GeoJSON, a simple, open standard for geo-data based on JSON and simple features, like Points and Polygons.

Mobile

MapBox.js is optimized for mobile devices and small screens by default. There are however best practices to make sure your map always looks its best.

Retina

Having the ability to use retina tiles when the device supports them is easy. When creating the map, use the detectRetina to verify if retina is available and retinaVersion to use a tilelayer which is designed for retina screens.

var map = L.mapbox.map('map', 'examples.map-y7l23tes', {
    detectRetina: true,
    retinaVersion: 'examples.map-zswgei2n'
  }).setView([40, -74.50], 9);

Viewport

Modern mobile browsers now support scaling of webpages by leveraging the meta tag viewport. This enlarges the window making your map look better on a mobile device. Simply include this in the head of your document:

Scrolling

If you're planning on having a page that has large amounts of scrolling, try to avoid a large map height. Having a 'tall' map can cause the user to get stuck on the map while scrolling. Another way around this is to disable dragging for mobile devices: map.dragging.disable();

Map

L.mapbox.map(element: Element, id: string | url: string | tilejson: object, [options: object])

Create and automatically configure a map with layers, markers, and interactivity.

Arguments:

The first argument is required and must be the id of an element, or a DOM element reference.

The second argument is optional and can be:

  • A map id string examples.map-foo
  • A URL to TileJSON, like http://a.tiles.mapbox.com/v3/examples.map-0l53fhk2.json
  • A TileJSON object, from your own Javascript code

The third argument is optional. If provided, it is the same options as provided to L.Map with the following additions:

  • tileLayer (boolean). Whether or not to add a L.mapbox.tileLayer based on the TileJSON. Default: true.
  • markerLayer (boolean). Whether or not to add a L.mapbox.markerLayer based on the TileJSON. Default: true.
  • gridLayer (boolean). Whether or not to add a L.mapbox.gridLayer based on the TileJSON. Default: true.
  • legendControl (boolean). Whether or not to add a L.mapbox.legendControl. Default: true.

Example:

// map refers to a <div> element with the ID map
// examples.map-4l7djmvo is the ID of a map on MapBox.com
var map = L.mapbox.map('map', 'examples.map-4l7djmvo');

// map refers to a <div> element with the ID map
// This map will have no layers initially
var map = L.mapbox.map('map');

Returns: a map object

map.getTileJSON()

Returns this map's TileJSON object which determines its tile source, zoom bounds and other metadata.

Arguments: none

Returns: the TileJSON object

Layers

L.mapbox.tileLayer(id: string | url: string | tilejson: object, [options: object])

You can add a tiled layer to your map with L.mapbox.tileLayer(), a simple interface to layers from MapBox and elsewhere.

Arguments:

The first argument is required and must be:

  • An id string examples.map-foo
  • A URL to TileJSON, like http://a.tiles.mapbox.com/v3/examples.map-0l53fhk2.json
  • A TileJSON object, from your own Javascript code

The second argument is optional. If provided, it is the same options as provided to L.TileLayer with one addition:

  • retinaVersion, if provided, is an alternative value for the first argument to L.mapbox.tileLayer which, if retina is detected, is used instead.

Example:

// the second argument is optional
var layer = L.mapbox.tileLayer('examples.map-20v6611k');

// you can also provide a full url to a tilejson resource
var layer = L.mapbox.tileLayer('http://a.tiles.mapbox.com/v3/examples.map-0l53fhk2.json');

// if provided,you can support retina tiles
var layer = L.mapbox.tileLayer('examples.map-20v6611k', {
    detectRetina: true,
    // if retina is detected, this layer is used instead
    retinaVersion: 'examples.map-zswgei2n'
});

Returns a L.mapbox.tileLayer object.

tileLayer.getTileJSON()

Returns this layer's TileJSON object which determines its tile source, zoom bounds and other metadata.

Arguments: none

Example:

var layer = L.mapbox.tileLayer('examples.map-20v6611k')
    // since layers load asynchronously through AJAX, use the
    // `.on` function to listen for them to be loaded before
    // calling `getTileJSON()`
    .on('load', function() {
    // get TileJSON data from the loaded layer
    var TileJSON = layer.getTileJSON();
});

Returns: the TileJSON object

tileLayer.setFormat(format: string)

Set the image format of tiles in this layer. You can use lower-quality tiles in order to load maps faster

Arguments:

  1. string an image format. valid options are: 'png', 'png32', 'png64', 'png128', 'png256', 'jpg70', 'jpg80', 'jpg90'

Example:

// Downsample tiles for faster loading times on slow
// internet connections
var layer = L.mapbox.tileLayer('examples.map-20v6611k', {
    format: 'jpg70'
});

Returns: the layer object

L.mapbox.gridLayer(id: string | url: string | tilejson: object, [options: object])

An L.mapbox.gridLayer loads UTFGrid tiles of interactivity into your map, which you can easily access with L.mapbox.gridControl.

Arguments:

The first argument is required and must be:

  • An id string examples.map-foo
  • A URL to TileJSON, like http://a.tiles.mapbox.com/v3/examples.map-0l53fhk2.json
  • A TileJSON object, from your own Javascript code

Example:

// the second argument is optional
var layer = L.mapbox.gridLayer('examples.map-20v6611k');

Returns a L.mapbox.gridLayer object.

gridLayer.getTileJSON()

Returns this layer's TileJSON object which determines its tile source, zoom bounds and other metadata.

Arguments: none

Example:

var layer = L.mapbox.gridLayer('examples.map-20v6611k')
    // since layers load asynchronously through AJAX, use the
    // `.on` function to listen for them to be loaded before
    // calling `getTileJSON()`
    .on('load', function() {
    // get TileJSON data from the loaded layer
    var TileJSON = layer.getTileJSON();
});

Returns: the TileJSON object

gridLayer.getData(latlng: LatLng, callback: function)

Load data for a given latitude, longitude point on the map, and call the callback function with that data, if any.

Arguments:

  1. latlng an L.LatLng object
  2. callback a function that is called with the grid data as an argument

Returns: the L.mapbox.gridLayer object

L.mapbox.markerLayer(id: string | url: string | tilejson: object, [options: object])

L.mapbox.markerLayer provides an easy way to integrate GeoJSON from MapBox and elsewhere into your map.

Arguments:

  1. required and must be:

  2. An id string examples.map-foo

  3. A URL to TileJSON, like http://a.tiles.mapbox.com/v3/examples.map-0l53fhk2.json
  4. A GeoJSON object, from your own Javascript code

The second argument is optional. If provided, it is the same options as provided to L.FeatureGroup, as well as:

  • filter: A function that accepts a feature object and returns true or false to indicate whether it should be displayed on the map. This can be changed later using setFilter.
  • sanitizer: A function that accepts a string containing tooltip data, and returns a sanitized result for HTML display. The default will remove dangerous script content, and is recommended.

Example:

var markerLayer = L.mapbox.markerLayer(geojson)
    .addTo(map);

Returns a L.mapbox.markerLayer object.

markerLayer.loadURL(url: string)

Load GeoJSON data for this layer from the URL given by url.

Arguments:

  1. string a URL referencing a GeoJSON resource

Example:

var markerLayer = L.mapbox.markerLayer()
    .addTo(map);

markerLayer.loadURL('my_local_markers.geojson');

Returns: the layer object

markerLayer.loadID(id: string)

Load marker GeoJSON data from a map with the given id on MapBox.

Arguments:

  1. string a map id

Example:

var markerLayer = L.mapbox.markerLayer()
    .addTo(map);

// loads markers from the map `examples.map-0l53fhk2` on MapBox,
// if that map has markers
markerLayer.loadID('examples.map-0l53fhk2');

Returns: the layer object

markerLayer.setFilter(filter: function)

Sets the filter function for this data layer.

Arguments:

  1. a function that takes GeoJSON features and returns true to show and false to hide features.

Example:

var markerLayer = L.mapbox.markerLayer(geojson)
    // hide all markers
    .setFilter(function() { return false; })
    .addTo(map);

Returns the markerLayer object.

markerLayer.getFilter()

Gets the filter function for this data layer.

Arguments: none

Example:

var markerLayer = L.mapbox.markerLayer(geojson)
    // hide all markers
    .setFilter(function() { return false; })
    .addTo(map);

// get the filter function
var fn = markerLayer.getFilter()

Returns the filter function.

markerLayer.setGeoJSON(geojson: object)

Set the contents of a markers layer: run the provided features through the filter function and then through the factory function to create elements for the map. If the layer already has features, they are replaced with the new features. An empty array will clear the layer of all features.

Arguments:

Example:

var markerLayer = L.mapbox.markerLayer(geojson)
    .addTo(map);
// a simple GeoJSON featureset with a single point
// with no properties
markerLayer.setGeoJSON({
    type: "FeatureCollection",
    features: [{
        type: "Feature",
        geometry: {
            type: "Point",
            coordinates: [102.0, 0.5]
        },
        properties: { }
    }]
});

Returns the markerLayer object

markerLayer.getGeoJSON()

Get the contents of this layer as GeoJSON data.

Arguments: none

Returns the GeoJSON represented by this layer

Geocoding

L.mapbox.geocoder(id: string | url: string)

A low-level interface to geocoding, useful for more complex uses and reverse geocoding.

  1. (required) must be:

  2. An id string examples.map-foo

  3. A URL string that points to TileJSON, like http://a.tiles.mapbox.com/v3/examples.map-0l53fhk2.json

Returns a L.mapbox.geocoder object.

geocoder.query(queryString: string, callback: function)

Queries the geocoder with a query string, and returns its result, if any.

Arguments:

  1. (required) a query, expressed as a string, like 'Arkansas'
  2. (required) a callback

The callback is called with arguments

  1. An error, if any
  2. The result. This is an object with the following members:

     { results: // raw results
     latlng: // a map-friendly latlng array
     bounds: // geojson-style bounds of the first result
     lbounds: // leaflet-style bounds of the first result
     }

Returns: the geocoder object. The return value of this function is not useful - you must use a callback to get results.

geocoder.reverseQuery(location: object, callback: function)

Queries the geocoder with a location, and returns its result, if any.

Arguments:

  1. (required) a query, expressed as an object:

      [lon, lat] // an array of lon, lat
      { lat: 0, lon: 0 } // a lon, lat object
      { lat: 0, lng: 0 } // a lng, lat object

The first argument can also be an array of objects in that form to geocode more than one item.

  1. (required) a callback

The callback is called with arguments

  1. An error, if any
  2. The result. This is an object of the raw result from MapBox.

Returns: the geocoder object. The return value of this function is not useful - you must use a callback to get results.

Controls

L.mapbox.legendControl(options: object)

A map control that shows legends added to maps in MapBox. Legends are auto-detected from active layers.

Arguments:

  1. (optional) an options object. Beyond the default options for map controls, this object has one special parameter:

  2. sanitizer: A function that accepts a string containing legend data, and returns a sanitized result for HTML display. The default will remove dangerous script content, and is recommended.

Example:

var map = L.mapbox.map('map').setView([38, -77], 5);
map.addControl(L.mapbox.legendControl());

Returns: a L.mapbox.legendControl object.

L.mapbox.gridControl(layer L.mapbox.gridLayer, options: object)

Interaction is what we call interactive parts of maps that are created with the powerful tooltips & regions system in TileMill. Under the hood, it's powered by the open UTFGrid specification..

Arguments:

  • The first argument must be a layer created with L.mapbox.gridLayer()
  • The second argument can be an options object. Valid options are:

  • sanitizer: A function that accepts a string containing interactivity data, and returns a sanitized result for HTML display. The default will remove dangerous script content, and is recommended.

  • template: A string in the Mustache template language that will be evaluated with data from the grid to produce HTML for the interaction.
  • follow: Whether the tooltip should follow the mouse in a constant relative position, or should be fixed in the top-right side of the map. By default, this is false and the tooltip is stationary.
  • pinnable: Whether clicking will 'pin' the tooltip open and expose a 'close' button for the user to close the tooltip. By default, this is true.

Example:

var map = L.mapbox.map('map').setView([38, -77], 5);
var gridLayer = L.mapbox.gridLayer('examples.map-8ced9urs');
map.addLayer(L.mapbox.tileLayer('examples.map-8ced9urs'));
map.addLayer(gridLayer);
map.addControl(L.mapbox.gridControl(gridLayer));

Returns: a L.mapbox.gridControl object.

L.mapbox.geocoderControl(id: string | url: string)

Adds geocoder functionality as well as a UI element to a map. This uses the MapBox Geocoding API.

This function is currently in private beta: contact MapBox before using this functionality.

Arguments:

  1. (required) either:

  2. An id string examples.map-foo

  3. A URL to TileJSON, like http://a.tiles.mapbox.com/v3/examples.map-0l53fhk2.json

Example

var map = L.map('map')
    .setView([37, -77], 5)
    .addControl( L.mapbox.geocoder('examples.map-vyofok3q'));

Returns a L.mapbox.geocoderControl object.

geocoderControl.setURL(url: string)

Set the url used for geocoding.

Arguments:

  1. a geocoding url

Returns: the geocoder control object

geocoderControl.setID(id: string)

Set the map id used for geocoding.

Arguments:

  1. a map id to geocode from

Returns: the geocoder control object

geocoderControl.setTileJSON(tilejson: object)

Set the TileJSON used for geocoding.

Arguments:

  1. A TileJSON object

Returns: the geocoder object

geocoderControl.setErrorHandler(errorhandler: function)

Set the function called if a geocoding request returns an error.

Arguments:

  1. a function that takes an error object - typically an XMLHttpRequest, and handles it.

Returns: the geocoder control object

geocoderControl.getErrorHandler()

Returns the current function used by this geocoderControl for error handling.

Arguments: none

Returns: the geocoder control's error handler

Markers

L.mapbox.marker.icon(feature: object)

A core icon generator used in L.mapbox.marker.style

Arguments:

  1. A properties object from a GeoJSON feature object

Returns:

A L.Icon object with custom settings for iconUrl, iconSize, iconAnchor, and popupAnchor.

L.mapbox.marker.style(feature: object, latlon: object)

An icon generator for use in conjunction with pointToLayer to generate markers from the MapBox Markers API and support the simplestyle-spec for features.

Arguments:

  1. A GeoJSON feature object
  2. The latitude, longitude position of the marker

Examples:

L.geoJson(geoJson, {
    pointToLayer: L.mapbox.marker.style,
});

Returns:

A L.Marker object with the latitude, longitude position and a styled marker

Theming

Dark theme

Mapbox.js implements a simple, light style on all interaction elements. A dark theme is available by applying class="dark" to the map div.

Example:

<div id="map" class="dark"></div>