Monday, November 21, 2016

The Return of Mapbox Streets

A few weeks ago we withdrew support for Mapbox GL Style Sheets.  You can read about our reasoning if you like.

Courtesy Mapbox

That's all changed!  Mapbox is opening up their mobile license for WhirlyGlobe-Maply users and offering competitive mobile pricing.  We're responding by making it easier to use their data.

License and Pricing

WhirlyGlobe-Maply developers will be treated just like Mapbox GL devs for tracking and billing purposes.  You should email to get an amended license that will look a bit like this.

If you want to use Mapbox vector tiles on more than 50,000 devices or you're doing device tracking, talk to them.  That's all standard stuff in their agreement.  If you want the mobile pricing, talk to the sales department.

Telemetry & Offline Use

We're being treated as an equal to Mapbox GL here and that is great, but there are responsibilities. Mapbox GL sends back telemetry to improve OpenStreetMap and do traffic stuff.  We'll have to do the same.

The standalone telemetry library isn't ready and we're proceeding without it.  When it's ready, we'll integrate it with WhirlyGlobe-Maply.  It'll be on only for Mapbox data sources.

As for offline Mapbox Streets use, you're subject to the same rules as Mapbox GL.  If you ask how to work around that, I'll be happy to refer you to Mapbox's terms of service.

Who's This For?

WhirlyGlobe-Maply occupies a niche in real time data display.  We're big in weather and aviation apps, with a smattering of other specialized users.  And developers who just want a globe, obviously.

I see the biggest potential in two kinds of base maps.  First up, Mapbox Satellite Streets.  This fills in a nice hole in apps that want an optional satellite mode with a sprinkling of transportation.

Also Mapbox

Next up, a stripped down variant of Mapbox Streets suitable for data overlay.  They have a few starting points here and we can tweak a bit.

Schedule & Shout Out

WhirlyGlobe-Maply 2.5 is getting close to release so we're not going to hold it up for this.  We'll put the Mapbox GL Style Sheet support back in 2.5.1 and do a bit of testing.

Lastly, a shout out to the folks at Mapbox.  We thought you'd gone all Mapquest on us, but you haven't!  Cool.