Javier de la Torre

Announcing CARTO Spatial Extension for Snowflake

At CARTO, our mission is to help customers unlock spatial analytics in the cloud, and today we are excited to announce the general availability of the CARTO Spatial Extension for Snowflake.

Snowflake is one of the fastest growing Cloud Data Warehouses with strong support for data sharing and multicloud. Users can enable any number of critical workloads with near-unlimited scale, concurrency, and performance to make better, quicker business decisions.

We have been working with Snowflake for a long time now, and customers such as Indigo AG have been using CARTO and Snowflake together very successfully. Today’s announcement is coupled with the great new additions by the Snowflake team, such as the recent support for “GEOGRAPHY” data type.

Building on this release, the team at CARTO have continued to develop an extensive array of features to extend the available geospatial capabilities, making cloud native spatial workloads as seamless as possible for users of the Snowflake platform.

The CARTO Spatial Extension for Snowflake

Screenshot of CARTO Spatial Extension for Snowflake

Today’s CARTO Spatial Extension for Snowflake announcement coincides with the release of a complete redevelopment of our platform. Our all-new cloud native platform gives Snowflake users unprecedented flexibility to:

  • Connect to interact with spatial data hosted in Snowflake.
  • Generate and share interactive map visualizations or run advanced spatial analysis using SQL.
  • Deploy a complete framework of analytical capabilities to perform location-based analysis, within the Snowflake Data Cloud.
  • Ingest thousands of public and premium location datasets right inside Snowflake, without running complex ETLs or manual updates.
  • Develop rapid, insightful spatial applications, using a comprehensive toolkit of developer resources.

All of these features are delivered through a new interface, bringing a unified experience to Snowflake users so they can create organization accounts, connect to Snowflake hosted data tables, and begin their exploratory analysis in just a few clicks using our new Data Explorer. This tool simplifies the navigation of Snowflake hosted data and lets users create map previews and location-based insights rapidly.

Spatial data analytics is growing significantly above the market average and CARTO complements Snowflake's unlimited scalability by offering a complete solution for Spatial Analytics. With technology that pushes down queries to the data platform and its location data in Snowflake's Data Marketplace, CARTO offers a state-of-the-art cloud-native GIS system in the Snowflake ecosystem.
Sergei Sokolenko, Principal Product Manager at Snowflake.

A modern mapping UI to make maps from SQL

We have completely reworked our Builder tool. For this new version of Builder we have shifted entirely to vector rendering using the latest open source frameworks from Kepler.gl and deck.gl.

The tool provides a unique interface to run SQL, work with cartography layers, iterate visualization approaches (including 3D), apply filters, widgets and much more. Builder gives users the flexibility to mix SQL, tables, or tilesets in the same map and we have integrated several basemap options.

Introducing the Analytics Toolbox for Snowflake

Diagram showing the components of the Analytics Toolbox


For both Developers and Data Scientists, our Analytics Toolbox brings more than 60 advanced spatial functions that can be deployed inside Snowflake. These User Defined Functions cover a broad range of spatial use cases and include data transformations, indexing for Quadkey, S2 and H3, and advanced functions to carry out geocoding, clustering, and more.

Functions can be called directly from within the platform giving Data Scientists the ability to explore, visualise, and analyze their Snowflake spatial data without switching contexts or the need for time-consuming ETL processing.

Check out the video below for an example of the Analytics Toolbox in action.

Thousands of spatial datasets to enrich your analysis

At the heart of the platform is our Data Observatory, making access to spatial datasets as frictionless as possible. Through the Spatial Extension for Snowflake users can browse, visualize, and ingest thousands of curated spatial datasets, including Demographics, Points of Interest, Mobility, Environmental, Financial, Behavioural data and more.

Key ready-to-query datasets from the CARTO Data Observatory are also available to Snowflake users through the Snowflake Data Marketplace, further simplifying the enrichment of business transaction and account data using relevant location datastreams.

This data is made available directly in Snowflake so you can easily run spatial JOINS, without the need for complex transformation routines.

Accelerate spatial app development with our APIs, SDKs, and templates

And that’s not all! We have also released a full suite of resources for developers who are working with data hosted in Snowflake. Our APIs, SDKs and ready-to-go app templates significantly reduce the time required to develop custom map-based applications.

What’s more, we’ve removed the need to build your own geospatial backend. Developers can design map visualizations in Builder and then use them in code. Our CARTO for React framework offers Developers a comprehensive library of web components and widgets to accelerate the creation of great web experiences.

To showcase how these tools can be used for map-based storytelling, we have created a Snowflake driven demo centered on the new breed of ultrafast grocery delivery players.

Screenshot of Snowflake demo

Spatial Analysis in Snowflake

Our announcement is a major step forwards to enable more advanced Location Intelligence in the Snowflake Data Cloud.

As of today, Snowflake users working on location-based data and workloads, have access to a fully integrated platform to bring advanced analytics to their hosted data and develop even more engaging web experiences using map based insights.

The Spatial Extension for Snowflake is available as a free 14 day trial. Click here to sign up and get access to all of these great, new features.

About the author
Javier de la Torre

Javier de la Torre is founder and Chief Strategy Officer of CARTO. One of the pioneers of location intelligence, Javier founded the company with a vision to democratize data analysis and visualization. Under his leadership, CARTO has grown from a groundbreaking idea into one of the fastest growing geospatial companies in the world.
In 2007, he founded Vizzuality, a renowned geospatial company dedicated to bridging the gap between science and policy making by the better use of data.

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