Mapzen’s products help you put a map anywhere, search and route the planet, and try a world of open data. These are built from open-source tools that are packaged into a web service and hosted on Mapzen’s servers. If you want to use Mapzen’s services, you need to create a Mapzen developer account and a valid API key, and keep your requests to the service within certain rate limits.

Developer accounts and API keys

Mapzen developer account authentication is through GitHub, which is a website that enables people to collaborate on a project. You need to have a GitHub account to create a Mapzen developer account, as there is currently no other form of authentication.

When signed in to your Mapzen developer account, you see a dashboard where you can create an API key, which is a code that uniquely links API usage inside your application with your account without needing a password.

  1. If you do not have a GitHub account, create one at It can be any kind, including personal.
  2. Go to This is where you can create, delete, and manage your API keys.
  3. Sign in with your GitHub account. If you have not done this before, you need to agree to the terms first.
  4. Create a new Mapzen Key.
  5. Optionally, give the key a name so you can remember the purpose of the project.
  6. When you are ready to use it, copy the key and paste it into your code. In your query, the API key parameter should take the form of api_key=mapzen-xxxxxx.

Mapzen’s web services have various API endpoints that allow you to access web resources through a URL. You will need to include your API key in the URL you construct to send queries to Mapzen’s services. For example, add an api_key URL parameter to any request, such as ?api_key=mapzen-xxxxxx.

Rate limits

Mapzen offers a free tier of each service, subject to the rate limits listed below. Mapzen’s hosted services are shared resources, so there are limitations to prevent individual users from degrading system performance for everyone.

The services have maximum numbers of queries you can make within a certain period of time, and some have additional limitations to minimize computationally intensive uses.

All the projects used to build the Mapzen-hosted services are open source. If you want to try Mapzen’s products, start with the hosted services to see if they fit your workflow needs. If you later decide that you need additional customizations, you can consider installing on your own servers the open-source code used to build Mapzen’s services.

You must include an API key when using Mapzen’s services; requests sent without an API key return errors.

If you find a problem, need higher limits, or have enhancement suggestions for Mapzen’s products, send a note to

Check your usage

To check your usage, sign in to your developer account.

  1. Sign in at
  2. Click the statistics button for the API key you want to review.
  3. View a graph of your recent usage for a certain period of time, such as the past day or month.

You also receive HTTP status codes in the header for the server’s response to your query.

If you exceed rate limits, you will typically see errors for 403 Forbidden and 429 Too Many Requests.

Mapzen uses server caching to deliver commonly requested content as quickly as possible. Queries that are served from a cache do not count toward your rate limits. For example, you might encounter results from the cache when you browse a map with vector tiles in a popular extent or repeatedly perform an identical geocoding search.

Mapping products


Tangram, Mapzen’s rendering software for web and mobile apps, does not require its own API key. However, if you are using Tangram to draw data from Mapzen’s vector tiles service, you need an API key.

Mapzen Basemap Styles

Mapzen’s cartography requires an API key to enable access to Mapzen vector and terrain tiles data sources.

Mapzen Vector Tiles

Mapzen Vector Tiles provides global basemap coverage and has these limits:

  • 100 queries per second (about six map views per second)
  • 2,000 queries per minute (about 133 views per minute)
  • 100,000 queries per day (about 6,600 views per day)

When viewing a map, you commonly use about 15 tiles at a time. The number of map views is an attempt to translate the query rate limits into practical expectations in an app.

The Mapzen Vector Tiles service is built from the Tilezen open-source project.

Mapzen Terrain Tiles

Mapzen Terrain Tiles provides global elevation coverage. This service is 100% cached and there are no rate limits.

The Mapzen Terrain Tiles service is built from the Joerd open-source project.

Search and mobility products

Mapzen Turn-by-Turn

Mapzen Turn-by-Turn is a routing and navigation service and has these limits:

  • 2 queries per second
  • 50,000 queries per day
  • Pedestrian routes have a limit of 50 locations and 250 kilometers.
  • Bicycle routes have a limit of 50 locations and 500 kilometers.
  • Automobile routes have a limit of 20 locations and 5,000 kilometers.
  • Multimodal routes have a limit of 500 kilometers between locations.

The distance limit is the total straight-line distance (colloquially, as the crow flies) along a path through successive locations.

Mapzen Matrix

Mapzen Matrix provides time and distance calculations between locations and has these limits:

  • 2 queries per second
  • 5,000 queries per day
  • The maximum number of locations is 50 for any type of matrix.
  • The maximum straight-line distance between two locations is 200 kilometers.

Mapzen Optimized Route

Mapzen Optimized Route finds the most efficient route between many locations. The service has these limits:

  • 2 queries per second
  • 5,000 queries per day
  • The maximum number of locations is 50.
  • The maximum straight-line distance between two locations is 200 kilometers.

Mapzen Isochrone

Mapzen Isochrone provides a computation of areas that are reachable within specified time periods from a location or set of locations. The service has these limits:

  • 2 queries per second
  • 5,000 queries per day
  • The maximum number of locations is one. For isochrones around multiple locations, you need to make multiple requests.
  • The maximum time to compute isochrone contours from the location is 120 minutes.
  • The maximum number of isochrone contours in a single request is four.

The Mapzen Turn-by-Turn, Matrix, Optimized Route, and Isochrone services are built from the Valhalla open-source project.

Data products

Mapzen Elevation

Mapzen Elevation provides the height or elevation at a set of locations and has these limits:

  • 2 queries per second
  • 20,000 queries per day

There are also limitations on the number of sampling points for which you request elevations.

The Mapzen Elevation lookup service is built from the Valhalla open-source project.

Who’s On First

Retrieve data about places from the Who’s On Firsts gazetteer.

  • Queries per day: 25,000
  • Queries per minute: 300
  • Queries per second: 6

Other data products

Mapzen’s other data products do not currently require API keys. These include:

  • Metro Extracts, downloadable snapshots of OpenStreetMap data (Note: you will need to sign in with a developer account to download custom extracts)
  • Transitland, the open transit data project

Mobile products

To use Mapzen’s Android SDK or any of Mapzen’s other products in your mobile apps, you need an API key for the function you are integrating. For example, adding routing to your app requires a Mapzen API key.

Terms of use

Mapzen’s products are available for any use, including commercial purposes. You need to follow the attribution requirements for the data source, and also provide acknowledgement to Mapzen if you are using these web services.