New to this, but played with Mapbox.

My interest lies in creating really good looking slippy maps, I am a web developer so I am interested in both the creation and interacting with the data using a API or similar.

So far I have created some lovely detailed building maps in Mapbox and been able to interact with the later data using MapBox GL - all good but I will soon surpass the limit and need to pay $499 a month my institution wont front that kind of money!

As Mapbox is open source and by definition available is it possible to re-create the project using Mapbox Studio open source and host on my own server?

I see the GitHub repository here https://github.com/spatialdev/mapbox-studio, but many of the links are 404 not found and it doesn't seem well supported - last commit was in 2015!!

  • You need to define which components and data exactly you want to host yourself. May 5, 2017 at 14:00
  • My limits are data and tile loads so these are the things I want to host myself. Presumably one cant create a tile set in mapbox then export and host on a different server. Also the API presuambly I need to be able to make calls to my data. May 5, 2017 at 14:09
  • 2
    For the record: Mapbox is open-sourcing some of their things. Mapbox Studio is NOT open-source. May 5, 2017 at 16:36
  • 1
    Point me to the openly licensed source code of current Mapbox Studio and I will agree with you... But we disgress. Mapbox definitely does not make it ieasy to self-host products in their system anymore. Maybe try openmaptiles.org/docs/style/maputnik ? Do give better recommendations we would need to know details about your data and plans. May 8, 2017 at 13:29
  • 2
    Yes, this is precisely my question, they claim open source and I’m miffed why I can’t find mapbox studio or any documentation on how to set it up. Of course this would not be in Mapbox best interests. But yes Maputnik looks just like what I need so appreciate the link. The project I’m working is to visualise building height data in the UK and using MapBox GL JavaScript to pull out the data plus other related research datasets, when the user highlights over the building, this will be a open public project to demonstrate research in my academic institution. May 8, 2017 at 14:58

4 Answers 4


Yes, you absolutely can create your own solution based on MapBox-created open-source technologies. You can for example host your own tiles and consume them using their web front-end (mapbox-gl.js) without using their service. I have a working solution and am exploring using this for our company in a serious way. You cannot however use Studio (you used to be able to use the Classic version, as other people mention) to style which makes things challenging.

So it does take work and effort, and it is much easier to just use their tools. They are vocal advocates of open-source at many levels of their org and I don't see signs of them changing, but this is an example of the kind of thing you have to watch when using open tech.

Generating the tiles is possible through some of their many modules, or these days anything that can produce a pbf/mvt tiles which is now widely supported. Consuming the tiles with mapbox-gl.js is not free of challenges but is also straighforward once you start using them.

The absence of that free Studio product for styling is the biggest barrier to creating a solution quickly and leveraging the tech the way they do, but you can learn to style based on their guides. Again, there is a lot of effort and creativity involved but do-able for dedicated developers.

  • This should be the correct answer Oct 4, 2019 at 17:11

is it possible to re-create the project using Mapbox Studio open source and host on my own server?

The syntax of the map stylesheet used in Mapbox Studio is mapbox-gl-style-spec which cannot be backported to the CartoCSS that is used in the open source and now discontinued Mapbox Studio Classic. Even if you did, the tiles would still be hosted by Mapbox that you would need to pay for.

If you are looking for a self hosted solution, you might want to look at the kartotherian project which is an open source map tile generation stack developed by the Wikimedia Foundation which reuses a lot of specifications originally open sourced by Mapbox.

  • Interesting project and thanks for the info about the styles. but I dont think Kartotherian will quite hit all my needs. At the moment my idea is to use Mapbox for the geometries and then use the web GL on top of this on the client side to add data as the free account dosent allow private repositories as to maintain seperation of style and data. May 24, 2017 at 14:34

Take a look on NextGIS cloud. The NextGIS Web on own server also available. This is fully open source solution.

Documentation available.

To create web style you can use NextGIS QGIS with NextGIS connect plugin, or edit map style in browser. Two renderer supported in a cloud (MapServer and QGIS).

enter image description here


There are two open source forks of Mapbox GL libraries:

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.