CartoDB, the best for creating online maps

CartoDB is one of the most interesting applications developed for the creation of online maps, showy in a very short time.

CartodbMounted on PostGIS and PostgreSQL, ready to use, is one of the best I've seen ... and that is an initiative of Hispanic origin, adds value.

Supported Formats

As a development focused on GIS, it goes much further than what I previously showed FusionTables Which is barely based on tables.

CartoDB supports:

  • CSV .TAB: files separated by commas or tabs
  • SHP: ESRI files, which should go in compressed ZIP file including the files dbf, shp, shx and prj
  • KML, .KMZ from Google Earth
  • XLS, .XLSX Excel sheets, which require the headings in the first row and clear, only the first sheet of the book will be imported
  • GEOJSON / GeoJSON that is increasingly used for spatial data, so light and efficient for the web
  • GPX, widely used for GPS data exchange
  • OSM, .BZ2, Open Layer Map Layers
  • ODS, OpenDocument spreadsheet
  • SQL, this equates to an experimental SQL statement format of the CartoDB API



The upload is simple, you just have to indicate "add table", and indicate where it is. The innovation of these guys is interesting, since data can not only be called from the local disk, but also hosted on Dropbox, Google Drive or on a site with a known url; clarifying that he will not read it on the fly but that he will import it; but it saves us from having to lower and upload it.

Ability to generate maps

If it is only a table, it is possible to indicate that it is georeferenced by means of a column via geocode as I showed before with FusionTables, but also if it has x, y coordinates. It can even be georeferenced by merging with another table through linked columns or by inclusion of points within polygons.

The generation of layers is simply impressive, with pre-elaborated visualizations and facility to control thickness, color and transparency very easily.

I have climbed the layer of villages in Honduras and see how interesting is a map of density that shouts reminds us the reason why poverty belts are associated in many cases with the massification of local governments without criteria of financial autonomy.

Cartodb online maps postgis

And this is the same map, thematized by intensity.

Postgis maps

In general the tools for analysis and visualization are very practical as they allow to create filters, labels, legend, customize using css code and even SQL statements.

Publish views

If we want to share the maps with others, we can configure that the layer selector, the legend, the search bar is shown, if the mouse scroll will act with the zoom, etc. Then the Shortened url or code to embed or even API code.

It supports different background maps, including Google Maps. Also WMS and Mapbox services.


CartoDB has a scalable pricing system, from a free version that accepts up to 5 tables and 5 MB. The next option costs $ 29 per month and supports up to 50MB.

This version can be used in trial for 14 days, but you have to be careful that apparently there is no downgrade; at the end of the period if the plan is not purchased, the data is erased. I think there should be a possibility to keep the free version with the restrictions of the case.

Online maps

They have potential, we should see how the service evolves. Surely they have their plans in aspects such as hosting efficiency, loading non-hosted layers and more API functionalities adapted to non-specialized users, handling more than 4 layers per display, etc. For now the most deficient is wanting to use the application from a tablet.

In conclusion

Just great service. If what is expected is to create online maps, with ease and power.

The review we are doing today is quick, but there is more to see.

I suggest you try the service, as its API is available and it is OpenSource, so for those who know more ... they can exploit more.

Go to CartoDB

2 Replies to "CartoDB, the best for creating online maps"

  1. Thanks for the clarification. The message says that if the trial period is over, all the data will be deleted. Is there still time to choose which tables to leave active in trial version?

  2. A note, if possible downgrade when you are in the trial period of magellan :). Great article!

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