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Carto Locations 2018 – A New Era of GIS

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Author: Chris Morabito

Date: June 6, 2018

At their Locations conference in Brooklyn this year, CARTO set forth a new vision for their company and the GIS industry, as a whole. CARTO is moving away from “traditional GIS” and focusing their platform on what they call “location intelligence”.

Traditionally, GIS has focused on visualization and calculation, but CARTO aims to be in the realm of spatial analytics. To move beyond simply describing the world and to begin diagnosing problems, predicting trends, and prescribing changes; this is what CARTO means by location intelligence.

Users have always been able to create beautiful maps on the CARTO platform, and that will certainly continue to be true. But CARTO wants to move beyond pretty pictures-CARTO wants to help users gain insights into their data.

“Data is not information, information is not knowledge, knowledge is not understanding, understanding is not wisdom.”

—Clifford Stoll

CARTO’s Engine platform is the powerful foundation for this analysis. Built on PostGIS and other open-source technology, Engine has the capability to store, query, and render large quantities of spatial data. Add on top of that statistical and machine-learning models, and CARTO can provide deep insights into your data.

But CARTO doesn’t want you to have to bring all the data yourself. CARTO’s Data Observatory is a curated repository of third-party sources that can be used to enrich your data. Partners such as Waze and Mastercard have provided datasets to CARTO, which can be fused with your data in a number of ways:

  • Waze:  Late last year, CARTO announced Traffico, a partnership with Waze that brings their data into the CARTO platform. CARTO both presents a live feed of Waze events and adds the additional value of archiving the event feed for historical analysis. Local governments can now analyze live and historical Waze events in the context of their own data to spot issues, troubleshoot recurring issues, and more.
  • Mastercard:  Mastercard has been using the on-premise, enterprise version of CARTO, and built a variety of internal analytics tools using their credit card transactions data. Later this summer, Mastercard will be bringing these tools to the rest of CARTO as the new Retail Location Insights dashboard and as a dataset in the Data Observatory. Using anonymized, aggregated transaction data, the new capabilities will give CARTO users insights into the retail spending patterns of Mastercard customers, an extremely valuable tool with a wide range of applications.

Waze and Mastercard are just two examples of the incredible sources CARTO makes available to their users. CARTO is continually seeking out new partner sources to feed into the platform to enable powerful new insights. Look for some exciting new datasets to be added in the near future. Find out more on the Data Observatory website.

For developers, CARTO is continuing to evolve their platform and provide new capabilities and tools to build innovative solutions. The new CARTO VL is a powerful JavaScript library built on Mapbox GL, which brings new vector rendering capabilities to the browser. By leveraging new vector tile capabilities in PostGIS and using an intelligent backend for aggregation and simplification, CARTO VL fluidly renders large datasets client-side for more dynamic, interactive experiences. And CARTO has published Airship, a library of reusable React components designed for building location intelligence solutions on top of the CARTO platform, with the same look and feel as CARTO’s widgets.

CARTO is moving location intelligence from the map author into the hands of the map user. The continuing evolution of the Engine platform, rich datasets in Data Observatory, and other advancements for developers and users, make CARTO the go-to platform for advanced spatial analytics.

- Chris Morabito