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Battle of geospatial tools for beginners: CARTO vs Kepler.gl

What is CARTO?

CARTO is an open-source, cloud-based location intelligence platform. More on CARTO here.

What is Kepler.gl?

Kepler.gl is an open-source, web-based application to visualise location data. More on Kepler.gl here.

Examples of visualisations in…

… CARTO:

… Kepler.gl:

How to import data to…

… CARTO:

  • Shapefile
  • Keyhole Markup Language (KML)
  • Zip-compressed KML file (KMZ)
  • GeoJSON
  • Comma Separated Values (CSV)
  • Spreadsheet
  • GPS Exchange File (GPX)
  • Open Street Map File (OSM)
  • MapInfo file
  • CARTO file
  • GeoPackage (GPKG)
  • File Geodatabase (FGDB)

… Kepler.gl:

  • Comma Separated Values (CSV)
  • GeoJSON
  • JavaScript Object Notation (JSON)

How to export data from…

… CARTO:

  • Comma Separated Values (CSV)
  • Shapefile
  • Keyhole Markup Language (KML)
  • GeoJSON
  • Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG)
  • GeoPackage (GPKG)
  • CARTO file

… Kepler.gl:

  • Comma Separated Values (CSV)

How to share visualisations in…

… CARTO:

  • URL
  • HTML
  • CARTO file

… Kepler.gl:

  • Image
  • HTML
  • JSON
  • URL (requires a Dropbox account)

Advantages of…

… CARTO:

  • Intuitive and easy to use
  • Spatial analysis tools (buffer, intersection etc.)
  • Data management options, including geocoding
  • Widgets
  • Handles real-time data
  • Privacy features

… Kepler.gl:

  • Easy to use
  • High-impact geospatial visualisations
  • Effective mapping of large time-enabled data
  • Effective mapping of clusters and density
  • Ideal for mobility visualisations

Disadvantages of…

… CARTO:

  • Nothing major

… Kepler.gl:

  • Data needs to be pre-processed
  • Lack of analytic tools and insights

Pricing of…

… CARTO:

  • Paid plans (free trial: 14 days). Note: the individual plan was not available on the website when this text was written.
  • Student account

… Kepler.gl

  • Free

Training and other valuable resources to get started with…

… Carto:

… Kepler:

Carto + Keppler.gl?

What if you did not need to choose? With the Kepler.gl integration, you can manage your maps in one single place and work on them across both tools: Kepler.gl and CARTO. More information here, here and here.

Winner of the battle

Kepler.gl is flashy but gets limited fast. CARTO offers more geospatial analysis functionalities and is a proper location intelligence platform.