World Maps Update: New Designs and Data at


2 min read

This week we released updated designs of all the tilesets in our ‘World’ series available from MapBox. These tilesets are designed to provide a selection of clean baselayer options for world and country-level maps. There are four maps in the series: World Light, World Dark, World Glass, and World Print.

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The new versions feature a more refined design, updated geographic data, and the addition of major cities to all sets (which previously only World Glass had). For the update, all of the maps were converted to TileMill projects from their previous lives as Cascadenik and Mapnik XML. In addition, they are now all stored and served as MBTiles files.

World Glass allows for instant color-customization with its use of PNG transparency.

Design and data changes

Featured in previous versions of World Glass, all four maps now use OpenStreetMap coastline data. Land administrative boundaries are from Natural Earth, except for the U.S. and Canada where TIGER and GeoBase were used, respectively. Subtle maritime boundaries are from VLIZ.

Previously we offered a “USA” variant of World Light that included U.S. county boundaries (TIGER) and major city labels. There is no longer a need for a separate USA version — this data has been rolled into the main versions of all four tilesets. Major city labels have been expanded and now cover the whole world.

Disputed boundaries and areas have been refined with different line styles for different types of disputes and an angled stripe pattern along the inside border of disputed areas. The data for these styles comes from Natural Earth 1.3.0.

Example of a break-away region: Southern Sudan.

Available for free now

All four designs are available on to embed free on your website, or to download and use in offline mobile applications that support MBTiles (like the Mapbox iPad app). Existing users of previous versions of these maps will see the updates soon, including users of World Light USA. For more information on how to use these tiles in your embedded web maps, see the MapBox knowledge base.

What we're doing.