What is CartoDB

CartoDB is a geospatial database on the cloud that allows for the storage and visualization of data on the web. Using CartoDB will allow you to quickly create map based visualizations.

  • At its heart, CartoDB is an open source geospatial mapping Platform. It is a tool we built to make mapping dynamic, scalable, and interesting.
  • At its core, CartoDB is an Editor that gives you a user friendly interface so you can start making maps and visualizing data right away.

Below, we split our introduction into two parts: the CartoDB Platform and the CartoDB Editor. If you are looking for a scalable geospatial system to build tools or power your applications, jump down to the CartoDB Platform section. If you are looking for a drag & drop interface where you can style and customize maps in minutes, head to the CartoDB Editor section. If you want both, keep reading; it’s all right here waiting for you!

CartoDB Editor

CartoDB Editor

So we hear you’ve been out there trying different mapping tools on your computer and on the web. I bet most of them look a bit stuck in 2004, right? That probably concerns you because if a tool looks stuck in 2004 you can only imagine what the maps it produces look like. When we started CartoDB a few years ago this was a major challenge we set out to fix. We built the editor from the ground-up, with beautiful design and good user-experience at the top of our list of guiding principles. What you see on the surface doesn’t stop there, we make the same effort to ensure that the maps themselves are also beautiful and easy to use.

The CartoDB interface allows you to drag and drop geospatial data (e.g. CSVs, ESRI Shapefiles, etc.) into your browser and have an interactive map in seconds. There is no download or installation needed. With your data and maps in hand, you can quickly filter, customize looks, and publish maps on the web. The editor gives you simple interfaces for publishing maps as public URLs, password protected visualizations for collaborations, embeddable maps, or even API endpoints to build CartoDB delivered maps directly into your own websites.

Some of the best parts of the CartoDB Editor are the parts that you might never even notice, like scalablility. Our platform supports maps that can be viewed by a few close friends or colleagues, and those that fly to the top of Twitter feeds, Reddit, or other sources where they are viewed by thousands, even millions! CartoDB scales with you, making sure that your maps are enjoyed by all of your viewers.

Jump in and start using the editor right now, we have free accounts for you to try out, and we have lots of great resources including an awesome community of users out there to help get your questions answered quick!

CartoDB Platform

Beautiful maps and an intuitive interface may get you hooked, but what if you want to build something a bit more complex? That is where the CartoDB Platform comes in. It is what backs the CartoDB Editor, so if you’ve made a map, you’ve already been using it. CartoDB runs on an open source stack including PostgreSQL, PostGIS, and a host of other powerful and scalable components. The CartoDB Platform wraps together your database with Map and SQL APIs that let you interact with data remotely. This allows you or your map’s users to tweak, query, and update your CartoDB maps, data, and more. Using the CartoDB service also means you can take advantage of the most secure and up to date libraries at all times, no more fuss.

Speaking of fuss, CartoDB also makes it easy to upload, update, and manage geospatial data in real-time. Because CartoDB runs on a live relational database, it means you can update your data and see those changes in real-time. Building a mobile data-collection tool and want to see the results? Done. Trying to build the next-generation dashboard for the city of the future? Done. Monitoring real-time vehicle location? Done. CartoDB is fast, scalable, and flexible to fit your needs. In combination with the CartoDB Editor, CartoDB gives you an environment that is great for prototyping new ideas and moving quickly with geospatial data.