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CartoDB, a startup specializing in creating maps and visualizations from location data, has announced that it’s changing its name to Carto and is introducing a new self-service product called Carto Builder that’s targeted at non-coders.
Founded out of Madrid in 2012, Carto is a software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform that serves up geographic mapping tools to help businesses and designers create location-centric visualizations on the web. The company was initially developed as an open-source product from a Spanish company called Vizzuality. When it announced a $23 million funding round earlier this year, Carto also revealed that it was switching its headquarters to New York.
In terms of how companies use the Carto platform, well, there are myriad use cases. Cities may use it to show trends in traffic or new construction projects, while financial institutions may use it to develop apps that analyze and compare transactions in key locations during specific events. Ultimately, Carto is all about creating meaningful maps out of lots of data points.
Carto today touts 200,000 users, 1,500 of which are companies ranging from SMEs to Fortune 500 firms — including BBVA, Twitter, and Vodafone. And with more than $30 million in funding, Carto is clearly going for scale, which is why it’s looking to target not just the developer fraternity, but data analysts and other people within businesses that could benefit from building geospatial apps.
This newfound mission goes some way toward explaining why the company has dropped the “DB” from its name. “We don’t serve developers alone anymore, we are disrupting an entire industry,” the company’s chief operating officer (COO), Miguel Arias, explained to VentureBeat. “We expect to open location analytics to an entire new audience.”
There are companies out there that are broadly similar to Carto, including Tibco’s Spotfire, Esri’s ArcGIS, and Tableau, while the mighty Google only recently shuttered its own Google Maps engine. But Carto has always tried to position itself as a comprehensive, easy-to-use data analysis platform, and it’s taking this a step further now with the launch of Carto Builder — a web-based WYSIWYG product that the company says offers a number of key benefits for targeting new users, including self-service analysis features and the ability to create a dashboard through a drag-and-drop interface.
In effect, Carto is striving to do for location analytics what the likes of Dreamweaver did for budding website builders with no coding knowledge. Carto Builder adopts a “visual” language and includes widgets that let anyone filter and explore their location data. But that’s only part of the offering — it will also continue to provide in-depth querying through a SQL console and a Carto-CSS console view for custom styling. This is less about dumbing down the product than it is about opening it up to a broader skill set.
“Our goal with Carto Builder is to truly disrupt the industry with a product that does not require complex geospatial skills and that can drastically alter how location intelligence is done inside most organizations,” explained Javier de la Torre, Carto’s CEO.
Carto is opening an early access program for Carto Builder on July 7. The product will live alongside the existing CartoDB Editor for a few months, with the latter eventually being phased out.
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