The history of cartography is more than 4,000 years old. Man has mapped and documented routes and roads since the beginning of civilisation. Now, in 2020, we have something that was not available when the first maps were created: a vast and immeasurable amount of data. In particular, location data are changing both the way we live and the way we run businesses.
That’s why, in the 21st century, maps have evolved into something much more complex and sophisticated than in the past. This is what the Spanish enterprise CARTO offers. Thanks to a huge geospatial database and spatial analysis capabilities, CARTO provides a tool to visualise data and create dynamic maps through a location intelligence platform.
“CARTO is the world’s leading location intelligence platform, enabling companies to use geospatial data and analysis to make better decisions. Data scientists, developers and data analysts use CARTO to optimise decision making and predict future behaviour through the power of spatial analysis”, explains Spain & Southern Europe Sales Director, Paloma Rudiño.
If maps were important centuries ago, now they have become an essential tool in the fight against Covid-19, to understand how the disease spreads. Many organisations and individuals around the world are using maps to foster awareness, support communication and increase the effectiveness of their response, as CARTO reports. For this reason, it has made the “platform available to public and private sector organisations fighting against the Coronavirus outbreak via grant programs”. This is what CARTO has worked on, before and during the epidemic.
CARTO was born from a particular conjunction of circumstances. “In 2008, a team of experts in computerised biodiversity, analysis and visualisation techniques began to carry out environmental research projects, to understand the evolution of species. Thanks to the popularity of their blog and their professional contacts, they began to work with clients such as NASA and the United Nations”, says Rudiño. Finally, in 2012, they founded CARTO as an official company.
To put it simply, CARTO’s technology allows users to visualise and analyse data on maps and has different use cases. It is useful for geomarketing, logistics optimisation, site planning and territory management. That’s why it’s a versatile platform that can be used in a whole range of sectors – including retail, financial services, smart cities, telecommunications and logistics. For example, “geospatial analyses allow us to identify optimal routes based on traffic data, vehicle type and weather conditions. This reduces costs and time for logistics companies”, says Rudiño.
Today, CARTO’s portfolio of 1,200 high-profile clients, partners and collaborators includes players such as Google and the city of New York, and more than 350,000 users worldwide. Amongst the biggest names, Enel holds a distinctive place because, as they report, it “is not like other companies: they work in an agile way and place their bets on new technologies. Enel is light years ahead of the competition in the adoption of Location Intelligence in Energy Marketing Departments”.
CARTO’s relationship with Enel in Spain began through Endesa in 2016, “with a collaboration with the Digital Market Transformation team, to develop new strategies to maintain both customer base and market leadership. In particular, CARTO’s platform has allowed Endesa to understand not only where its customers are but how to cover the market strategically”, explains Rudiño. This has translated into a noteworthy reduction in the amount of time needed to evaluate key factors in location planning and demand analysis.
Now, all that background work, expertise and technology can be used to battle the Coronavirus.
Maps to understand and fight the Coronavirus
As we touched on before, maps are key to analysing and understanding the spread of diseases such as Covid-19. Data visualisation is of paramount importance to comprehend how people and cities behave in this pandemic, and provides an intuitive and efficient way to inform citizens.
That’s why CARTO is contributing to making its platform available to public and private sector organisations fighting against the Coronavirus.
“At CARTO we offer free licenses for three months to all organisations or individuals who are fighting the Covid-19 contagion. We offer a wide range of datasets from all over the world, which can be accessed through the Data Observatory, our spatial data repository”, adds Rudiño. This can help governments, organisations and companies to take better data-driven decisions.
The response from the spatial mapping community has been amazing, with many grants already approved. In Spain, CARTO has collaborated with the launch of Corona Madrid, “an app that allows people with Covid-19 symptoms to carry out a self-assessment, alleviating the pressure on health institutions”. The company is also working with ZOE in the United Kingdom, “where they are also tracing the symptoms and incidence of Coronavirus using CARTO”.
From Indonesia to the United States, and from the Netherlands to Brazil or Argentina, CARTO is putting the Coronavirus on the map so that, together, we can stop this global pandemic faster, thanks to data.