This is my first time using CartoDB, so  I am still experimenting with it and exploring the multitude of ways to visualize locations and their interrelations to the data uploaded into this system of tools. Their motto, “Predict Through Location” is well chosen because it allows for users to make inferences based on their dataset that they would not have come to without this tool.

CartoDB is a free open source software that allows users to map data efficiently. It creates maps using location data and track people or events over time. Users with a clear, organized dataset can easily upload various information and map out its component. The dataset for my project was information from a collection of interviews of former slaves in Alabama. The first map created was a simple view of the location of each interview. However, the information can be altered by clicking on the data view and choosing a certain element of the dataset, so the user can get the information about that point.


There are  many ways to utilize CartoDB and present the information through a variety of maps. By clicking on the Paintbrush, the map layer wizard gives several options to reformulate the map with a different focus. Users can choose from fixed or animated maps, such as Cluster, Torque, Category, or Intensity.  Each map type allows for further customization.

Cluster Map Image


Intensity Map Image


Heat Map Image


Category Map Image


At the bottom left of the screen, users can change the look of the map by changing the basemap.


Two of the basemap options showing the Slave Narrative data:


The Options tool to the right of “Change basemap” allows for options on the face of the map to describe something.


Users may add additional layers of dataset by clicking on the + sign in the toolbar.


Image of a layered map


The desired image of a map may be exported by clicking on Export Image.  Save it as jpg or png.


Users may share their visualization by clicking on Publish in the upper-right-hand corner of the screen.  It gives three options: a URL to share the link, a code to embed the visualization in a website or blog, or it can be added to CARTO.js’JavaScript library that interacts with the CARTO Engine service.


CARTODB is an easy to use mapping tool and I am excited to explore it further.

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