🎂10 years ago today @michalmigurski blogged about open vector tiles in TileStache. This was a rich epic in mapping history, and by 2016 many creative and inventive people had reinvigorate mapping as a globally accessible platform for new innovations. mike.teczno.com/notes/postgres…
Mike's work followed Google Map's pioneering efforts in 2010 with vector tiles on Android and Apple Map's 2012 launch as the 1st vector native maps platform. By 2013, Google Maps added vector tiles on the web and we all started asking: How can the "rest of us" join the party?
Folks at @Mapbox made huge contributions in 2014 with v1 of the "Mapbox Vector Tile" (MVT) spec –  patterned off of the protocol buffers Google and Apple were using, and inspired by @mapnik and the older database and map styles for raster tiles.
But it quickly became obvious that a new client-side rendering technologies were needed, which precipitated MapboxGL and Mapbox Studio paired with v6 of Mapbox Streets in 2015. @mapzen also got in the game with Tilezen tiles and Tangram.
By 2016, version 2 of the Mapbox Vector Tiles (MVT) spec was released. Mapbox matured their vector tiles into Streets v7, Tilezen v1.0 was released by @mapzen, and @OpenMapTiles joined the party as v3.1 (with a good bit of @stamen and @CARTO DNA in the mix)
I was at @mapzen by this point, and we were playing around not just with tile schemas but how to store, update & deliver tiles. Tilezen v1.3 in 2017 added Metatile storage akin to the Cloud Optimized GeoTIFF (COGs) format which has since revolutionized raster maps
As @mapzen was shutting down in 2018 we released Tilezen v1.6, our first version to really hone in on SMALL vector tiles (some were embarrassingly BIG before). This was followed quickly in 2019 by Tilezen v1.8 tiles at Snap, including a new global build system.
In 2020, Mapbox released Streets v8 vector tiles and the industry had settled on MVT at 512-px size, thanks also to @postgis adding native support for generating generic MVTs in mid-2019 and @qgis finally being able to read them in 2020.
After 10 years of MBTiles, @bdon revolutionized tile storage and delivery with PMTiles. Mapbox closed out 2020 by saying goodbye to open source and hello to new business models. Interest in OpenMapTiles and the new MapLibre GL rendering engine fork exploded.
In 2021 @msb5014 made it a lot simpler to build tiles with PlaneTiler, in 2022 adding support for OpenMapTiles by default, and the OMT schema had matured to v3.14.
In 2022, I was focused on evolving Tilezen for Snapchat to be super focused on p99 tile size with the v1.9 release, tagged last week.
🎂Happy birthday vector tiles! You've enabled modern basemaps, reinvigorated an entire industry, and are now enabling thematic overlays and storytelling (like with @enf's fantastic Tippecanoe). Here's to another 10 years!! 🍻

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More from @kelsosCorner

Mar 13
📣 Tilezen v1.9 is out! Significant perf gains to reduce p99 vector tile file sizes (-45%) to under 200 kb, internationalization for OpenStreetMap disputed boundaries, MapLibre support, and OSM Daylight distribution–just in time for DST. Full changelog: github.com/tilezen/vector…
📉Tilezen v1.9 file size changes (dark blue) achieved with more geometry simplification, property removal, and feature removal. v1.6 (light blue) shows unfiltered Natural Earth at low zooms, unfiltered OpenStreetMap at zoom 7+, and zoom 15 onslaught of OSM 2.5D buildings. Image
🌎🌍🌏 Internationalization of disputed boundary point-of-view was accomplished with extensive paired data edits upstream in OpenStreetMap, using Natural Earth as a sanity check for country names, and consideration of edge cases, including Taiwan and Somaliland.
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