MapLibre Launches Open Source Mapbox Alternative
Written by Kay Ewbank   
Tuesday, 16 February 2021

MapLibre is an open source alternative to Mapbox. It has been released to ensure a free-to-use option is available following the announcement that Mapbox is to move to a proprietary license model.

Mapbox is a JavaScript library that is used to power interactive vector maps on many high profile websites. Mapbox has a number of libraries, SDKs and APIs that developers have been able to use, including a JavaScript library that uses WebGL to render interactive maps from vector tiles and Mapbox styles, open-source MapsSDKs for embedding maps in web and mobile applications, and the Mapbox web services APIs for programmatic access to Mapbox map-related tools and services.


In December Mapbox announced that Mapbox GL JS version 2.0 will move to a proprietary license model. Existing versions will remain as open source, but the announcement triggered third party developers to begin forking Mapbox, working as a group to avoid fragmentation. The result is MapLibre GL, the official open source successor to Mapbox GL JS.

The companies involved as founders include cross-industry users of Mapbox, including Ceres Imaging, Elastic, Jawg, MapTiler,  Microsoft,  StadiaMaps, Stamen Design and WhereGroup,

The primary goal of the MapLibre project is consistency and backwards compatability with previous releases, along with continued bug-fixes and maintenance going forward. The contributors also hope to add MapTiler’s open source fork of Mapbox’s mobile map SDKs for Android and iOS.

Meanwhile, Mapbox is continuing work on Mapbox GL JS, and have just released Mapbox GL JS v2.1.1, with efficient pitched tile loading, improved rendering precision for CJK labels, 3D interaction enhancements, JS Promises for map events, and several other bug fixes and improvements. From version two onwards, all maps are now 3D, and the library includes a new Camera API, the free form low-level API for controlling the camera and its view of the map. Mapbox GL JS is available to developers on pay-as-you-go, with usage billed by Map Load, which correlates to page load metrics. In v2, a map load occurs whenever a `Map` object is initialized on a webpage.


More Information

MapLibre On GitHub

Mapbox Website

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Last Updated ( Tuesday, 16 February 2021 )