MapBox creates really attractive maps. To see their maps in a new compelling way, we put together a quick web app with Cesium to view MapBox maps on our 3D globe with global terrain and water, and the sun, sky, and stars. Check it out in a modern web browser:

Once you’re running, click the MapBox icon in the upper right to select from the terrain, streets, and satellite map.

If you have a MapBox account, you can view your own maps in 3D (if not, sign up for a free account). In MapBox, copy the Map ID from the mapbox.js tab on the Publish page, and paste it into the text box in the upper right.

Since 3D generally require 100s of tiles, be warned that 3D will count as many map views. It’s worth it. :)

There are several 3D effects. Zoom into an area with water to see animated waves.

The sun and stars are drawn based on the time of day. Look into the sky to see them.

In addition to the 3D view, there is also a traditional 2D view and Columbus view, a 2.5D view. Use the dropdown in the upper right to morph between views.

Zoom in with Columbus view and the terrain and water are still there. Finally, use the button in the lower-right to go full-screen.