We recently released MapBox Streets, a zoomable web map of the world that's powered entirely by open data through the OpenStreetMap project. Our main focus with MapBox Streets was to provide a beautiful street map alternative to the ones normally seen online, primarily Google Maps, and to make it incredibly easy for people to start using it on their websites.
We created a step-by-step tutorial on how to use MapBox Streets on a website and add data to it using our open-source map design studio TileMill or pulling from an external source, like a database or API (application programming interface). We've seen good adoption so far from large companies like Foursquare to university projects like this map from the University of California at Santa Barbara.
Open data is important
OpenStreetMap is a wiki-style geographic database that anyone can contribute to -- and they do. The project currently has more than 545,000 registered users, with a 50 percent uptick in new users last week alone after some high-profile companies started using it.
OpenStreetMap data is completely open, meaning anyone is able to copy, distribute and use the data. And because people can add to it, its level of detail is constantly growing and improving based on users' needs. We're in the middle of a four-week sprint at MapBox to add detail to OpenStreetMap in cities such as São Paulo, Campo Grande, Brazil, and Mexico City, and the speed of change is amazing. This new data will be added to MapBox Streets in the coming weeks. We'll also be updating the design in the coming weeks based on feedback we've received to make it more usable.
Try it out
To try out MapBox Streets, sign up for a free MapBox account and check out the tutorial. To really have some fun, we recommend using TileMill to start making custom maps with your own data on top of the MapBox Streets base map. There's a crash course on how to get started with TileMill, and you can read more about it in our previous posts here.