0.12.1 • Public • Published


Node.js utilities and tilelive integration for the MBTiles format.

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npm install @mapbox/mbtiles
var MBTiles = require('@mapbox/mbtiles');



All MBTiles instances need to be constructed before any of the methods become available. NOTE: All methods described below assume you've taken this step.

new MBTiles('./path/to/file.mbtiles?mode={ro, rw, rwc}', function(err, mbtiles) {
  console.log(mbtiles) // mbtiles object with methods listed below

The mode query parameter is a opening flag of mbtiles. It is optional, default as rwc. Available flags are:

  • ro: readonly mode, will throw error if the mbtiles does not exist.
  • rw: read and write mode, will throw error if the mbtiles does not exist.
  • rwc: read, write and create mode, will create a new mbtiles if the mbtiles does not exist.


getTile(z, x, y, callback)

Get an individual tile from the MBTiles table. This can be a raster or gzipped vector tile. Also returns headers that are important for serving over HTTP.

mbtiles.getTile(z, x, y, function(err, data, headers) {
  // `data` is your gzipped buffer - use zlib to gunzip or inflate


Get info of an MBTiles file, which is stored in the metadata table. Includes information like zoom levels, bounds, vector_layers, that were created during generation. This performs fallback queries if certain keys like bounds, minzoom, or maxzoom have not been provided.

mbtiles.getInfo(function(err, info) {
  console.log(info); // info

getGrid(z, x, y, callback)

Get a UTFGrid tile from the MBTiles table.

mbtiles.getGrid(z, x, y, function(err, data) {
  // continue onwards


startWriting AND stopWriting

In order to write a new (or currently existing) MBTiles file you need to "start" and "stop" writing. First, construct the MBTiles object.

mbtiles.startWriting(function(err) {
  // start writing with mbtiles methods (putTile, putInfo, etc)
  mbtiles.stopWriting(function(err) {
    // stop writing to your mbtiles object

putTile(z, x, y, buffer, callback)

Add a new tile buffer to a specific ZXY. This can be a raster tile or a gzipped vector tile (we suggest using require('zlib') to gzip your tiles).

var zlib = require('zlib');

zlib.gzip(fs.readFileSync('./path/to/file.mvt'), function(err, buffer) {
  mbtiles.putTile(0, 0, 0, buffer, function(err) {
    // continue onward

putInfo(data, callback)

Put an information object into the metadata table. Any nested JSON will be stringified and stored in the "json" row of the metadata table. This will replace any matching key/value fields in the table.

var exampleInfo = {
  "name": "hello-world",
  "description":"the world in vector tiles",
  "version": 2,
  "minzoom": 0,
  "maxzoom": 4,
  "center": "0,0,1",
  "bounds": "-180.000000,-85.051129,180.000000,85.051129",
  "type": "overlay",
  "json": `{"vector_layers": [ { "id": "${layername}", "description": "", "minzoom": 0, "maxzoom": 4, "fields": {} } ] }`

mbtiles.putInfo(exampleInfo, function(err) {
  // continue onward

putGrid(z, x, y, grid, callback)

Inserts a UTFGrid tile into the MBTiles store. Grids are in JSON format.

var fs = require('fs');
var grid = JSON.parse(fs.readFileSync('./path/to/grid.json', 'utf8'));
mbtiles.putGrid(0, 0, 0, grid, function(err) {
  // continue onward

Hook up to tilelive

When working at scale, node-mbtiles is meant to be used within a Tilelive ecosystem. For example, you could set up an MBTiles file as a "source" and an S3 destination as a "sink" (using tilelive-s3). Assuming you have a system set up with an mbtiles:// protocol that points to a specific file and authorized to write to the s3 bucket:

var tilelive = require('@mapbox/tilelive');
var MBTiles = require('@mapbox/mbtiles');
var s3 = require('@mapbox/tilelive-s3');


var sourceUri = 'mbtiles:///User/hello/path/to/file.mbtiles';
var sinkUri = 's3://my-bucket/tiles/{z}/{x}/{y}';

// load the mbtiles source
tilelive.load(sourceUri, function(err, src) {
  // load the s3 sink
  tilelive.load(sinkUri, function(err, dest) {

    var options = {}; // prepare options for tilelive copy
    options.listScheme = src.createZXYStream(); // create ZXY stream from mbtiles

    // now copy all tiles to the destination
    tilelive.copy(src, dst, options, function(err) {
      console.log('tiles are now on s3!');


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