What is CARTO?

CARTO is the leading Location Intelligence platform for the modern data stack. It enables organizations to use spatial data and analysis for more efficient delivery routes, better behavioral marketing, strategic store placements, and much more.

Data Scientists, Developers, and Analysts use CARTO to optimize business processes and predict future outcomes through the power of Spatial Data Science.

CARTO is the only cloud-first spatial platform built for accelerated, modern GIS. It runs natively on top of your cloud data warehouse platform (e.g. Google BigQuery, Snowflake, AWS Redshift, etc.), providing easy access to highly scalable spatial analysis and visualization capabilities in the cloud - be it for analytics, app development, data engineering, and more. CARTO is available in both cloud and self-hosted deployments.

Who uses CARTO?

Different type of users leverage our platform in different ways, such as:

πŸ§‘β€πŸ’Ό Data Analysts

A Data Analyst might use CARTO to join tabular data to geospatial data using Workflows and visualize the results in interactive maps built with Builder, adding styles and context before sharing them with the rest of the organization.

πŸ§‘β€πŸ’» Data Engineers

A Data Engineer may use CARTO to automate pipelines to process and transform their geospatial data or to enrich their data with spatial datasets from the Data Observatory and adding the results to their cloud data warehouse with our native connectivity.

πŸ§‘β€πŸ”¬ Data Scientists

A Data Scientist might use CARTO to enrich their data with spatial data with Workflows, our Analytics Toolbox and Data Observatory, to create new spatial features for machine learning models, and to run geo-statistics and advanced analyses with their geospatial data; sharing the results with interactive dashboards built in Builder.

πŸ§‘β€πŸ’» Developers

A Developer may build scalable and performant geospatial apps faster and on top of their own cloud data warehouse by using the CARTO module in deck.gl and the CARTO APIs.

πŸ“ˆ Analytics and GIS leaders

An Analytics or GIS Leader might use CARTO to enable their teams to scale their geospatial capabilities to much larger data scales, faster.

πŸ—ΊοΈ GIS Analysts

A GIS Analyst might use CARTO to assemble a visual workflows to analyze data with weather warnings and automate the creation of a map-powered dashboard.

☁️ Cloud Architects

A Cloud Architect might implement CARTO to speed up the migration of geospatial workloads to the cloud.

What makes CARTO unique?

We believe that CARTO does some things extremely well β€” And those things make us unique versus other geospatial platforms:

Cloud Native

  • Direct connection to your cloud data warehouse β€” no migration or ETLs needed.

  • Use native SQL across the platform and leverage your data warehouse geospatial capabilities.

  • Our Analytics Toolbox functions are installed and run natively in your data warehouse, expanding its geospatial capabilities.

  • Streamlined security and governance by inheriting data and user access controls.

Scale and Performance

  • Use much larger volumes of data, such as millions and billions of records, by leveraging your cloud data warehouse computational power.

  • Full support for spatial indexing techniques such as H3, optimizing transformations, enrichment, and analysis for superior performance with large datasets.

  • Create performant visualizations regardless of the scale of the data by using our dynamic and static tiling strategies.


  • Use Builder to create and share dashboards in minutes, with a complete set of tools and widgets.

  • Create spatial workflows easily in Workflows, our no-code visual model builder.

  • Easy to ramp up for people with limited exposure to geospatial, unlike traditional GIS tools.

  • Faster development of scalable geospatial applications by leveraging CARTO and Deck.gl, allowing you to focus on driving value with your application.

Components of the CARTO platform

Depending on your usage of the CARTO platform, whether it’s for visualization, analysis, data access, or application development, you will be using different components of the platform.


The central location of all your experience with CARTO; connect to multiple cloud data warehouses, explore your geospatial data, geocode your tables, enrich your data with a wealth of vetted datasets to enhance your geospatial analysis, and access the different CARTO tools.


CARTO Builder offers powerful map making capabilities, interactive data visualizations, collaboration and publication options - everything running natively from your cloud data warehouse.


CARTO Workflows is a visual model builder that allows you to build complex spatial analyses and data preparation and transformation workflows without writing code. As with the rest of our platform, Workflows is fully cloud-native and runs in your own data warehouse.

Platform APIs and libraries

For the Developer community, we have created a complete library of APIs, frameworks, connectors, and development tools to accelerate your spatial app development process.

Analytics Toolbox

The CARTO Analytics Toolbox is a suite of functions and procedures to easily enhance the geospatial capabilities available in the different cloud data warehouses. It contains more than 100 advanced spatial functions, grouped in different modules such as tiler, data, clustering, statistics, etc.

Data Observatory

We catalog and distribute thousands of vetted public and premium spatial datasets, covering most global markets. These datasets are available across the different components of CARTO, so you can use them for data enrichment or as additional layers for your spatial apps and analyses.

Next steps

Now that you're familiar with CARTO, here are some beginner-friendly next steps you can take to get started:

  1. Create a new CARTO organization if you haven't already: our 14-day free trial does not require a credit card and allows you for unlimited testing.

  2. Discover our CARTO Academy where you will find easy-to-follow steps to build your first use cases using the CARTO platform.

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