Mapbox GL Is Ten Years Old

Mapbox GL marked a paradigm shift in web mapping; away from pre-rendered tiled raster maps towards more dynamic vector maps rendered in the client.

Konstantin Käfer looks back at the early days of Mapbox GL:

Luckily, the time was right for a new approach. Several things fell into place that enabled the creation of Mapbox GL:

  • We had just developed the Mapbox Vector Tile format, enabling efficient delivery of small chunks of geodata to the client. Over the past decade, this format has become tremendously successful and is now an industry standard that is used across the entire geospatial community.
  • WebGL was becoming widely available, having been standardized just two years earlier.

Mapbox GL was a game-changer. Too bad they decided to switch to a proprietary license.