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MapKit Theme Style Overlay Swift 5

Jules Lee Jules Lee Follow Oct 03, 2019 · 2 mins read
MapKit Theme Style Overlay Swift 5
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You don’t want to use MapBox or GoogleMap? Me too. I don’t want to pay for something that isn’t going to be much different. For now, I don’t see myself using their extra features, whatever those might be.

I’ve been looking for a workaround for this for a few months now. I must have overlooked this post on Medium. It’s now an outdated solution, but I found a way for it to work. Thanks to Fernando Martín Ortiz for that post.

There’s this pod, made by Fernando himself, that you need to install.

pod "MapKitGoogleStyler"

Wherever you’re using the map view, you need to import this library: import MapKitGoogleStyler. And this is the sample code that contains a single change from Fernando’s view controller that shows the map view.

import UIKit
import MapKit
import MapKitGoogleStyler

class ViewController: UIViewController {

    override func viewDidLoad() {
        // Do any additional setup after loading the view.
        guard let overlayFileURLString = Bundle.main.path(forResource: "overlay", ofType: "json") else {
        let overlayFileURL = URL(fileURLWithPath: overlayFileURLString)
        // After that, you can create the tile overlay using MapKitGoogleStyler
        guard let tileOverlay = try? MapKitGoogleStyler.buildOverlay(with: overlayFileURL) else {
        // And finally add it to your MKMapView

    func mapView(_ mapView: MKMapView, rendererFor overlay: MKOverlay) -> MKOverlayRenderer {
            // This is the final step. This code can be copied and pasted into your project
            // without thinking on it so much. It simply instantiates a MKTileOverlayRenderer
            // for displaying the tile overlay.
            if let tileOverlay = overlay as? MKTileOverlay {
                return MKTileOverlayRenderer(tileOverlay: tileOverlay)
            } else {
                return MKOverlayRenderer(overlay: overlay)

You might run into an error because the pod is a bit outdated, but no worries. All you have to do is find that GoogleStyle.swift and replace it with this.

Notice that we need a json file named overlay. It’s where our theme’s color scheme lies, but make sure you’ve configured the json file this way. Otherwise, your json will not be found by Bundle.main.path(forResource: "overlay", ofType: "json") .


You may be wondering, where do I get such theme? Did I make those myself?

No, silly! I copied that JSON file. There’s actually tons of those themes out there. I just got mine from Snazzy Maps.

Jules Lee
Written by Jules Lee
Hi, I am Jules, the author of FlutterGeek. Demystifying complex instructions from the internet.