Sergio Álvarez

Let your labels shine!

A few months ago we announced our brand new free basemaps—Positron and Dark Matter—built with OpenStreetMap data and designed with the help of our friends at Stamen; your data will absolutely pop when using them.

Label sandwich in CartoDB

In the process of building Positron and Dark Matter we worked to ensure that layers could be entirely hidden from basemaps or just used separately, both of which can be very effective for specific uses like visualizing OSM data, overlaying cartography features over satellite imagery, or labeling the world in a completely different way.


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We are now introducing a new feature that takes advantage of these new layers to make your maps shine even more than usual. Starting today, all CARTO maps using Positron, Dark Matter, or Stamen Toner basemaps will have the possibility to overlay the labels layer on top of the data layer. Now you can add more spatial context to your maps.

Please see below for more examples of how much maps can be improved with our brand new feature:

Label sandwich in CartoDB</p>
Label sandwich in CartoDB</p>

We have decided to make this new “sandwich” the default option, but in case you’d prefer to use the regular or light versions of the basemaps, you can still choose them in the basemap selector. We know that rendering labels on top of other layers won’t work in certain situations, and that’s why you’ll still have the option to render labels under your data layers.

Label sandwich in CartoDB

Although the related documentation is already published, in the upcoming days we will also explain how all this can be used in cartodb.js and how you can benefit from it by building awesome spatial apps.

We hope you enjoy this new addition, and look forward to hearing your feedback about it. Just email us at

Happy data mapping!

About the author
Sergio Álvarez

Sergio has spent years bridging the designer-developer divide and making products to improve the way that decisions are made. He has a background in computer science and currently researches data visualization, information design, and interface design with a special focus on data interaction.
In 2009, Sergio co-founded Vizzuality, a company dedicated to visualization, analysis, and cloud-based services for large amounts of data, with offices in Madrid and New York.

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