There’s a lot of reasons you’d want to use MapBox over Google Maps for your next project. Good news, it’s a simple process. You can get a map un and running in a few minutes and the API mirrors a the Google Maps SDK, so switching from one to the other shouldn’t be too much pain.

Let’s get started

First thing first, you need to get an Access Token from MapBox:

  • Head to MapBox website and get an access token. This only takes a minute and you will need to create an account. MapBox Access Token

  • Next, name your app and click on Create Token. You’ll see a lot of settings in there. For now, you don’t need any of them so just leave them as is. MapBox Create Token

  • Upon creation, you can retrieve your token on the next page. Keep ahold of this, we’ll need it very soon. MapBox Retrieve Token



Just show me the code already

Adding MapBox to your Android app is really simple and requires little boilerplate. Let’s start by just showing a map on your screen. If you’re using a Fragment, call mapview.onDestroy() in onDestroyView() instead of onDestroy().


/app/build.gradle (Check for latest version here)

implementation 'com.mapbox.mapboxsdk:mapbox-android-sdk:8.0.0'

/res/values/strings.xml

<string name="access_token">your_access_token</string>

/res/layouts/activity_map.xml

<RelativeLayout
        xmlns:android="http://schemas.android.com/apk/res/android"
        xmlns:mapbox="http://schemas.android.com/apk/res-auto"
        android:layout_width="match_parent"
        android:layout_height="match_parent">

    <com.mapbox.mapboxsdk.maps.MapView
        android:id="@+id/mapview"
        android:layout_width="match_parent"
        android:layout_height="match_parent"/>
</RelativeLayout>

/src/…/MapActivity.kt

class MapActivity: AppCompatActivity() {
    
    override fun onCreate(savedInstanceState: Bundle?) {
        super.onCreate(savedInstanceState)
        // This goes before setContentView. You can also place it in your Application class
        Mapbox.getInstance(this, getString(R.string.access_token))

        setContentView(R.layout.activity_map)

        mapview.onCreate(savedInstanceState)

        // Initializing is asynchrounous- getMapAsync will return a map
        mapview.getMapAsync { map ->
            // Set one of the many styles available
            map.setStyle(Style.OUTDOORS) { style ->
                // Style.MAPBOX_STREETS | Style.SATELLITE etc...
            }
        }
    }

    public override fun onStart() {
        super.onStart()
        mapview.onStart()
    }

    public override fun onResume() {
        super.onResume()
        mapview.onResume()
    }

    public override fun onPause() {
        super.onPause()
        mapview.onPause()
    }

    public override fun onStop() {
        super.onStop()
        mapview.onStop()
    }

    override fun onLowMemory() {
        super.onLowMemory()
        mapview.onLowMemory()
    }

    override fun onDestroy() {
        super.onDestroy()
        mapview.onDestroy()
    }

    override fun onSaveInstanceState(outState: Bundle) {
        super.onSaveInstanceState(outState)
        mapview.onSaveInstanceState(outState)
    }
}


And that’s it! Your activity should display a map. Next, you’ll want to customize it in your xml or using the map object you retrieved in getMapAsync { }. In order to do so, I’ll take you through a few common usecases. Keep reading!


Customize your map

Notice we provided the xmlns:mapbox namespace in our xml? This is because it is one way you can customize your maps. Here are some examples

<com.mapbox.mapboxsdk.maps.MapView
    android:id="@+id/mapview"
    android:layout_width="match_parent"
    android:layout_height="match_parent"
    mapbox:mapbox_cameraZoom="12"
    mapbox:mapbox_cameraTargetLat="37.7749"
    mapbox:mapbox_cameraTargetLng="-122.4194"
    mapbox:mapbox_cameraTilt="50"
/>

You can also apply the same parameters through your Kotlin code, which can be a better choice when you want these settings to be dynamic.

map.moveCamera(
    CameraUpdateFactory.newLatLngZoom(LatLng(37.7749, -122.4194), 12.0)
)

And here is what the result looks like: Mapbox 101 completed

Going further

This is just the beginning- Mapbox lets you do a lot of things. Keep reading to bring your app to the next level.