CartoDB is a Software as a Service (SaaS) cloud computing platform that provides GIS and web mapping tools for display in a web browser. CartoDB has been rebranded to CARTO on 7-7-2016.

CartoDB users can use the company's free platform or deploy their own instance of the open source software. CartoDB is offered as freemium service, where accounts are free up to a certain size. For larger accounts, a fee is applied.[2] It was first released in Beta at FOSS4G in Denver in September 2011,[3] and officially debuted as a final release at Where2.0 in April 2012.[4]

Since 2014 CartoDB is an independent company therefore Vizzuality is part of the past.[5] The Spanish start-up raised $7 million from a consortium of investors in September 2014.[6] In September 2015, CartoDB received a $23 million in Series B financing.[7]


CartoDB was built on open source software including PostGIS and PostgreSQL. The tool uses JavaScript extensively in the front end web application, back end Node.js based APIs, and for client libraries.[8]

CartoDB is split into four components.

The first is the web application, where users can manage data and create custom maps. Users who aren't technically inclined can use an intuitive interface to easily create custom maps and visualizations. Advanced users can access a web interface to use SQL to manipulate data and apply map styles using a cartography language similar to CSS.

The second component is a Maps API that acts as a dynamic tile service, which creates new tiles based on client requests. In addition to the Maps API is a SQL API, where PostgreSQL-supported SQL statements can be used to retrieve data from the database. The SQL API serves data in various formats including JSON, GeoJSON, and CSV.

Finally, there is the CartoDB.js library, which can wrap the Maps and SQL APIs into complete visualizations or be used to integrate data into other web applications [10]


CartoDB has a developer community of both users of the hosted software and people deploying their own instances of the software. The community primarily uses a forum, and the IRC channel #cartodb on freenode. Many members of the community gather at the and annual conferences. Users include NASA,[2] Nokia,[2] Google Trends, Deloitte, BCG, New York City, Wall Street Journal, BBVA and Twitter[2]