CARTO has been a favourite of mine since my University years. Back then, it was still called CartoDB. Later, I maintained my enthusiasm for this tool when I worked on a proof-of-concept for a non-profit organisation in the social services sector.
What’s CARTO? CARTO is a cloud-based open-source geospatial intelligence platform. In addition to the spatial analysis and data visualisation capabilities, it provides access to a Spatial Data Catalog, comprising datasets around human mobility, behaviours (notably from social media) and Covid-19, amongst others.
But what makes CARTO so appealing? you ask.
Well, there is something empowering about a tool that does not require a lot of training and fiddling around to produce an impactful result. Also, the intuitiveness of the user experience can make the difference between banging your head against the wall while trying to get things to work (I know I’m not alone in this!) and enjoying the exploration of a new tool.
For those of you interested in Python, there’s CARTOframes, which allows the integration of CARTO directly into Python workflows.
Another advantage of CARTO is their generous one-year trial – in a world of limited free trials… That can make a difference if you’re starting an academic project, a proof-of-concept or even an application for a scholarship. There are also special deals for students and educators.