Javier de la Torre

Connecting Esri and CARTO Now Together for Everyone

We will be in San Diego next week for the 2016 Esri User Conference. To hit the ground running, we are scheduling meetings to show off our latest technology, as well as hosting a Happy Hour on Monday, June 27th at 7:00 p.m., right next door to the convention center, at the FOX Sports San Diego Grill. We hope to see you there!

Global Forest Watch

Many organizations use Esri and CARTO together to create powerful geospatial applications. An example we are particularly proud of is the Vizzuality-developed application Global Forest Watch, an initiative in which Esri and CARTO are both partners. In this project, GIS specialists make use of Esri software to collect and produce spatial data that is shared on ArcGIS™ for Server. From there, CARTO syncs and caches the data to provide the application development framework for the website. With technologies like Torque, CARTO enables an intuitive user experience for those interested in understanding deforestation.

GFW is a great use case about how CARTO and Esri are already working together in complex and diverse environments, but this is just one of the ways the two technologies can be connected. Now let’s take a look at some different workflows; if you have any questions, please let us know.

Synchronizing ArcGIS™ Server with CARTO

If you are using an Enterprise GIS and have ArcGIS™ for Server, you can already leverage CARTO with our ArcGIS™ Connector. This connector, enabled in your CARTO account, allows you to connect to public ArcGIS™ for Server services and import them into CARTO. The connector accesses the services through the REST Endpoint that ArcGIS™ for Server provides out of the box. CARTO’s connector can ingest both map and feature services that are hosted on ArcGIS™ for Server.

The ArcGIS™ connector for CARTO was only available for enterprise plans. Starting today it will be available for all CARTO plans, including Free Plans.

Using the Connector is as simple as copy and paste: you simply go a REST Endpoint URL, like this one, and copy the layer URL that you would like to ingest into the box below.

ArcGIS import

Once imported, the data can be used for your work in CARTO. Also, as the connection between ArcGIS™ for Server and CARTO is dynamic, the table in CARTO updates when your services add new data, remove data, or change attributes from your geodatabase. You can choose to automatically update the datasource every hour, or do it manually every 15 minutes. This provides a great synchronization mechanism whereby CARTO federates to ArcGIS™ for content.

ArcGIS import

Please, click here to read more about the Connector for ArcGIS™.

Using CARTO OSM basemaps in ArcGIS™ Desktop, ArcGIS™ for Server, or AGOL

CARTO offers a number of free basemaps for your data visualizations; we also provide custom-designed basemaps with tones that make your data pop. We offer them in raster format and now in vector format through our partnership with Mapzen.

They are free to use with almost no limitations, but if you need commercial terms we have these available. You can use the basemaps directly as “Tile Layers” with a standard URL format, or you can connect to them as a WMTS Server.

The WMTS Capabilities document can be found [here].

On ArcGIS™ Online, add them like this:

ArcGIS online

One great capability of these basemaps is that they can be used to make label sandwiches! This way your labels can always stay on top of the data.

Publishing maps from ArcGIS™ Desktop to CARTO

If you are using ArcGIS™ Desktop to analyze and manage geospatial data, you can upload that data into CARTO for free, using a great tool from GKudos. This tool leverages our SQL API in conjunction with Python to load data from ArcGIS™ Desktop into CARTO. The tool is available as a toolbox in ArcMap™ and ArcCatalog™:

Import Data

Here is a link to the [ArcGIS™ Desktop Connector] to CARTO by GKudos.

Why use CARTO together with Esri?

Now that you have learned the different ways to make Esri and CARTO work together, you might wonder why people do it in the first place. The answer is because they can. We love Open Standards and Open products that can interoperate! These are some aspects of integration that users take into account:

Cost-effective for data that updates frequently

CARTO’s dynamic capabilities for generating maps represent a cost-effective solution to organizations that need to publish data that changes quickly. Because CARTO maps render dynamically and automatically cache on demand, we do not charge for the number of updates. That can provide very significant savings in situations where data changes every day, hour, or minute!

However with ArcGIS™ Online you get charged by number of tiles generated. In the Esri model, you generate tiles every time you make a change; because tiling an entire map is expensive, they charge you based on how many you create, and this increases costs quickly when your data changes often.

Credits/Map Views on web applications can be scary

One issue with usage-based pricing is that often you don’t know how many times you are going to use the system or apps to create or modify your maps. Additionally, you don’t know how popular your maps or applications are going to be. With a credit system your price can skyrocket before you know it.

That’s why we have simple, predictable prices that let you know how much you are going to pay. And we do not penalize you based on your success! We want your maps to be as popular as possible—this why there are no credits or mapview limits on our service.

Simple APIs for developers

Our goal with the CARTO platform is to enable anyone to develop spatial applications. We believe that by using technologies like CartoCSS and SQL we make geospatial technology accessible to many more developers. Adhering to web development standards means faster development times and improved time-to-value, with an overall better user experience of applications.

Lock-in free. Open Source

CARTO source code is open source. This means that the same code we run on our cloud service, you can get and run on your own servers. We have extra modules to increase performance and security on our cloud, but the software is fundamentally the same. Why is this important for our customers? It provides trust. You can develop on top of CARTO knowing that you will have the freedom to run your own service if you want or need to. It provides a NO lock-in policy that many organizations appreciate. If we are providing a great service you will still prefer for us to run your servers, as we can provide a cost-effective solution and better quality.


Request a live demo

Join us for the CARTO happy hour on Monday at Esri User Conference!

We mentioned this above, but it’s worth saying again. We are having a happy hour at the FOX Sports San Diego Grill, 2 minutes away from the San Diego Convention Center. Please RSVP here!

Fox Sports San Diego Grill

We’re very excited to celebrate the geo community. It’s going to be a great time full of drinks, food, and fun. We hope to see everyone there!

Happy data mapping!

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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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