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mbtiles utility, renderer, and storage backend for tilelive

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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


query parameter is a opening flag of mbtiles. It is optional, default as
. 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

table. Includes information like zoom levels, bounds, vector_layers, that were created during generation. This performs fallback queries if certain keys like
, or
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



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

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

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');

s3.registerProtocols(tilelive); MBTiles.registerProtocols(tilelive);

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!');

}); });


npm test

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