Are Mapbox Maps Ready for Mobile Apps?

We have everything you might ever need to create a mobile solution that can attack the market and win. When an Android developer thinks about which service to use for integrating maps into his app, the first thing that comes to his mind is, surely, Google Maps. These maps earned trust of iOS and Android developers all over the world. They are easily integrated via API and provide a great variety of possibilities. However, some of our clients would rather create custom maps for their location-based applications than follow a standard logic. is one of the biggest providers of custom online maps for websites and mobile apps. It proved to be a great solution for web applications, such as GitHub, Pinterest, Foursquare, and other The vast majority of Mapbox’s data is in the open. The information sources include OpenStreetMap, USGS, Landsat, Natural Earth, and OpenAddresses. The platform uses as their base map and lets developers add different markers, lines, polylines, polygons, as well as layers from external sources (in GeoJSON, GPX, and other formats). If we use Google Maps, we’ll have to add all additional information on the client side. This is not very convenient, because even if you have a constant element, you will still need to do the drawing on the client. In the case with Mapbox, you can add all the elements you need on the server, after which, they will automatically appear in the clients’ apps. You can still add more elements on the client side, though, but only if you wish. Offline maps are becoming a hot trend. It seems the whole world is switching offline and Google Maps is also moving in this direction by letting users save their maps for Mapbox has support for offline maps. Their mobile SDKs, though, can only work with raster maps, which are basically maps divided into square tiles. The images of each tile for each zoom level have to be stored in the map, so in order to get an image of a certain tile, all you need to do is to upload an already created image from the database. The disadvantage of this approach is the overuse of memory since there are too many large images you need to store. A vector map is an alternative to raster maps. When you need to display a map in the vector format, an app should correctly render and scale it based on the vector data. This requires a better processing power but allows to significantly cut down on memory consumption. For example, a map that occupies 1GB in the raster format will only consume 100MB of memory in the vector format. Unfortunately, for now Mapbox mobile SDKs do not support vector maps. They have their own open source vector format, though, which they call Mapbox provides iOS and Android SDKs, which means that apart from web, it also works in mobile apps. But is Mapbox Maps integraion with your Mapbox Android SDK is based on the OSMDroid project, which makes it easy to add maps from Mapbox to your project. You can check their How will this look after an app is launched? A map with a selected style will get uploaded from the server and that’s it. The markers you added and additional layers will not be automatically uploaded with the map. If you want to add layers, you’ll have to do it on the client side, just like you would do with Google Maps. Speaking about offline mode, you can enable it by uploading maps from a local storage in MBTiles format. You can create a map in this format with the help of . But you need to remember that maps in this format occupy very much space. For example, a map of a medium-sized country can occupy more than 1GB. This way offline maps in MBTiles format are only suitable if you need to display smaller regions without that many details (for example, maps of one region of a city). At present, Mapbox has only one advantage over Google Maps — it supports map styles. Speaking of the rest, Mapbox Android SDK is a somewhat modified option of an open source , a mapping engine built on top of OpenStreetMap. I have to admit, though, that Mapbox’s engineers are actively developing their SDKs, so we will probably see all the missing functions quite soon. Source.

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Last Modified: April 18, 2016 @ 5:01 pm