Book Image

Mapbox Cookbook

By : Bill Kastanakis, Vasileios Kastanakis
Book Image

Mapbox Cookbook

By: Bill Kastanakis, Vasileios Kastanakis

Overview of this book

Maps are an essential element in today’s location aware applications. Right from displaying earth surface information to creating thematic maps displaying plethora of information, most of the developers lack the necessary knowledge to create customizable maps with combination of various tools and libraries. The MapBox platform is one such platform which offers all the tools and API required to create and publish a totally customizable map. Starting with building your first map with the online MapBox Editor, we will take you all the way to building advanced web and mobile applications with totally customizable map styles. Through the course of chapters we’ll learn CartoCSS styling language and understand the various components of MapBox platform and their corresponding JavaScript API. In the initial few chapters we will dive deeper into the TileMill and MapBox Studio components of MapBox and use them to generate custom styled map tiles and vector maps. Furthermore, we will publish these custom maps using PHP, node.js and third party tools like Geoserver. We’ll also learn to create different visualizations and map styles like a choropleth map, a heat map and add user interactivity using a UFTGrid. Moving on, we dive into advanced concepts and focus on integration with third party services like Foursquare, Google FusionTables, CartoDB, and Torque to help you populate and even animate your maps. In the final chapter we’ll learn to use the Mapbox SDK to create and publish interactive maps for the iOS platform. By the end of this book, you will learn about MapBox GL and how to create a fully functional, location-aware mobile app, using the maps styles created in the recipes.
Table of Contents (13 chapters)
Mapbox Cookbook
About the Author
About the Reviewer


Maps are an essential element in today's location-aware applications, but they lack variation and customization. The Mapbox platform offers the tools and APIs required to totally customize, populate, and publish a map.

In this book, starting with the basics of Mapbox Editor for your first map styling steps, we will take you all the way to building advanced web and mobile applications with completely customizable map styles. The book focuses on the CartoCSS styling language as well as Mapbox tools and its JavaScript API, which inherits from Leaflet and is one of the most established, robust, and easy-to-use libraries.

We will then introduce two core Mapbox tools: TileMill and Mapbox Studio. Using them, we will generate custom-styled map tiles and vector maps. We will then move on to how to publish your custom maps using PHP, Node.js, and third-party tools such as GeoServer.

The next step is to start using the Mapbox JavaScript API and Leaflet to create different visualization map styles, such as a choropleth map and a heat map, and add user interactivity using UTFGrid.

We will continue with the advanced chapters and focus on integrating with third-party services such as Foursquare, Google Fusion Tables, CartoDB, and Torque to help us populate and even animate our maps.

Finally, we will end the book with a chapter dedicated to mobile devices. You will learn about Mapbox GL and how to create a fully functional, location-aware mobile app, which will use the map styles created in the earlier recipes.

This book is fast-paced, and the recipes are easy to follow. While it focuses on a recipe approach, it dives into the core concepts and theory of the technologies used to help you understand the theory required for GIS, web, and mobile development.

What this book covers

Chapter 1, Introduction to Mapbox, shows how to style your own base map using Mapbox Editor, add vector data, and publish your maps.

Chapter 2, Mapbox Services, shows how to use the lower-level Mapbox Web Services API to access data from the Mapbox servers.

Chapter 3, TileMill and Mapbox Studio, shows how to create stunning custom raster and vector maps using TileMill and Mapbox Studio.

Chapter 4, Mapbox.js, is an introduction to the Mapbox JavaScript API. This chapter will show how to create custom layers, add vector and raster data, and create interactivity and custom map styles such as choropleth and heat maps.

Chapter 5, Mapbox.js Advanced, shows how to use external data sources and integrate them with datasets from third-party services.

Chapter 6, Mapbox GL, shows how to create a fully functional mobile app using Mapbox GL for iOS.

What you need for this book

You require the following software:

  • A code editor, such as Sublime Text, Atom or Brackets

  • The latest versions of TileMill and Mapbox Studio

  • The latest version of Xcode and a Mac computer

  • GIS software, such as QGIS (this is optional)

  • A REST client, such as Postman for Chrome or PAW for Mac (this is optional)

Who this book is for

Whether you are a web developer looking to dive into the GIS world or a GIS professional looking to create advanced web and mobile applications, this book is for you.


In this book, you will find several headings that appear frequently (Getting ready, How to do it, How it works, There's more, and See also).

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Getting ready

This section tells you what to expect in the recipe, and describes how to set up any software or any preliminary settings required for the recipe.

How to do it…

This section contains the steps required to follow the recipe.

How it works…

This section usually consists of a detailed explanation of what happened in the previous section.

There's more…

This section consists of additional information about the recipe in order to make the reader more knowledgeable about the recipe.

See also

This section provides helpful links to other useful information for the recipe.


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