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specification documents for the MBTiles tileset format
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MBTiles Specification

MBTiles is a specification for storing tiled map data in SQLite databases for immediate usage and for transfer. MBTiles files, known as tilesets, must implement the specification below to ensure compatibility with devices.


The MBTiles specification previously contained the UTFGrid specification. It was removed in version 1.2 and moved into its own specification with synced version numbers - so MBTiles 1.2 is compatible with UTFGrid 1.2. The specs integrate but do not require each other for compliance.


  • Development - NOT USABLE: 1.2
  • Stable: 1.1
  • 1.0



  • The format will switch tile ordering to the XYZ schema popularized by OpenStreetMap and away from the Tile Map Service specification.


  • name='format' row required in metadata table.
  • name='bounds' row suggested in metadata table.
  • optional UTFGrid-based interaction spec.


MBTiles is a compact, restrictive specification. It supports only tiled data, including image tiles and interactivity grid tiles. Only the Spherical Mercator projection is supported for presentation - tile display - and only latitude-longitude coordinates are supported for metadata such as bounds and centers.

It is a minimum specification - only specifying the ways in which data must be retrievable. Thus MBTiles files can internally compress and optimize data, and construct views that adhere to the MBTiles specification.

Unlike Spatialite, GeoJSON, and Rasterlite, MBTiles is not raw data storage - it is storage for presentational data, like rendered map tiles.

One MBTiles file represents a single tileset, optionally including grids of interactivity data. Multiple tilesets - layers, or maps in other terms, can be represented by multiple MBTiles files.



The text of this specification is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 United States License. However, the use of this spec in products and code is entirely free: there are no royalties, restrictions, or requirements.


  • Tom MacWright (tmcw)
  • Will White (willwhite)
  • Konstantin Kaefer (kkaefer)
  • Justin Miller (incanus)
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