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MapBox: open-source rival to Google Maps

MapBox (opens in new tab) is a fantastic site for designing and publishing maps. It offers different tools for styling and deploying them as well as providing services for hosting them. Many of these tools utlise OpenStreetMap (opens in new tab) - a collaborative project to create a free editable map of the world that's free to download and use.

MapBox is already being used by location app Foursquare (opens in new tab) and other companies may well be tempted by the opportunities to avoid the fees that Google charges for large-scale use of Google Maps.

The way MapBox is built is somewhat unusual. Developer Young Hahn of Development Seed (opens in new tab) explains it’s powered by something of an anti-CMS, Jekyll (opens in new tab), and GitHub pages. "Jekyll is a simple and subtly powerful way to make websites," he says. "Jekyll is a converter, not a server. It runs any time you want to update your site but doesn’t need to be running for your website to be live.

"We aren’t sure yet when Jekyll is the right tool for the job but we are sure of this: we’re excited about Jekyll and the concept of converters rather than servers," he continues. "Jekyll has made our website easy to work with (everyone on our team knows HTML and markdown, and working with YAML is a breeze), extremely fast (it’s hard to beat the speed of serving static files), and worry-free: there are no entry points to hack and there is no live web app to go down."

This showcase was originally published in .net magazine (opens in new tab) issue 234.

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The Creative Bloq team is made up of a group of design fans, and has changed and evolved since Creative Bloq began back in 2012. The current website team consists of six full-time members of staff: Editor Kerrie Hughes, Deputy Editor Rosie Hilder, Deals Editor Beren Neale, Senior News Editor Daniel Piper, Digital Arts and Design Editor Ian Dean, and Staff Writer Amelia Bamsey, as well as a roster of freelancers from around the world. The 3D World and ImagineFX magazine teams also pitch in, ensuring that content from 3D World and ImagineFX is represented on Creative Bloq. 

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