How to: Add a basemap

Why add a basemap?

A basemap provides background or geographical context for the data you want to display on a map.

Some examples of basemaps include:

  • Specialized basemaps that highlight specific types of data (e.g. basemaps for transport or cycle route);
  • Special maps or custom built maps (e.g. Pirate and Comic maps from Mapbox);
  • Aerial or satellite views of houses in a rural area; and
  • Neutral maps, which use color gradients to display data (e.g. a population density map or a heat map).

With Ona, it is easy to configure basemaps for your data. On your form’s Map View, you can find several basemaps from Mapbox already added, as shown below:

Or you can create and configure your own basemaps using a Mapbox account. To add a new basemap to your form from your Mapbox account, navigate to the form’s Settings page, then select Basemaps.

Click on Add Basemap.

This opens the Add basemap window where you can input the below information in order to link the new basemap to your data.

  1. Map Provider – The website used to create the basemap (currently, Ona supports basemaps from Mapbox).
  2. Style URL – The style url for the basemap.To get the style url for a map on Mapbox, select the options icon next to Edit for the basemap you want to use, then click on Share, develop and use.A new page will be displayed with the style url as highlighted below. Copy this and add it to the Add Basemap window.
  3. Access Token – Mapbox uses access tokens to associate requests to API resources with your account. Copy the access token url from your account as shown in the screenshot below and add it to the Add Basemap window.
  4. Name – The name of your basemap. This will be displayed on the list of available maps for your form.
  5. Attribution – (Optional) Any attribution to the appropriate organization(s) owning the copyright to the basemap. This attribution will appear in the map view.

Save the information entered.

Now that your basemap is linked to your form, you can view it by going to the form’s Map View and selecting the layer button in the bottom left as shown below;

Select your basemap from the list.


Ona supports vector tiles on all basemaps. Vector tiles are able to deliver large amounts of geographic data in small chunks to a browser or client app. This results in a few key benefits:

  • Styling – As vectors, tiles can be styled when requested allowing one to create maps using many styles on global data;
  • Size – Vector tiles are small, enabling high resolution maps, faster loading times, and efficient caching; and
  • The combination of tile access performance and vector drawing allows the tiles to adapt to any display resolution, which often varies across devices.

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