Introducing Map Sharing in TileStream


3 min read

As part of our recent feature rollout for TileStream Hosting, we introduced map sharing — a feature that allows you to use any publicly available map tileset and share your own with others. When creating a map in TileStream, you can add layers from your own maps, from the baselayers freely available from MapBox, or from maps made by anyone who wants to offer public maps. Let’s see this new feature in action by walking through a recent map we created for the DC-based nonprofit A Wider Circle.

The map builder lets you add your own map layers together to create a composited, interactive map. Here we have four map layers for A Wider Circle — three interactive point maps and one base layer that extends the MapBox World Light baselayer to a lower zoom level.

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What’s really exciting is that now you can select multiple layers from multiple sources for your custom map. Let’s add in two more layers from MapBox — the full World Light baselayer and a new DC Bright baselayer.

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Combining your map tiles with other people’s tiles or with MapBox baselayer maps uses the same fast compositing technology as all maps hosted in TileStream, so it won’t impact loading speed. Your multi-layered map will still be very fast — typically faster than Google maps.

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Now our composited map of A Wider Circle’s Neighbor-to-Neighbor program with MapBox baselayers can be shared and embedded on any website or viewed on mobile Apple iOS and Android devices.

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Using tiles from another account doesn’t count towards your MBTiles allowance on your TileStream account. You can use our new blank map tiles and the borders overlay to quickly visualize your data on a gorgeous map without worrying about downloading and re-uploading any maps.

If you’d like to share your tiles, all you have to do is set your account to public.

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This just means that other people can access and use your maps. When someone else uses your tiles in their map, that traffic doesn’t count toward your account — so it’s completely free to make your account public. And if you prefer to have a private account, you can still access all publicly available tiles.

We’re excited to see people start using this new feature and helping to grow the pool of publicly available map tiles. By making maps more social, we hope to encourage more collaboration across organizations and sectors and make open data more actionable.

To get started making and sharing your own maps, download open source TileMill or sign up for TileStream Hosting.

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