Jeff Ferzoco

Now You Can Work with CartoDB in QGIS

CartoDB’s strength is its agility working alongside other excellent tools in a mapping workflow. QGIS (Quantum GIS) is one of those tools, and its position as a no-cost open-source GIS software leader makes it an accessible, and affordable choice in exploring data. Now, the two can work together much more seamlessly.

The CartoDB QGIS plugin makes possible viewing, creating, editing or deleting data from a CARTO Engine account in QGIS. It’s so simple that once you set it up it feels like an integrated part of the QGIS interface.

Plug-in toolbar

One-button upload and download, extends your data exploration to any analysis workflow you might normally do in QGIS, and imports the new polygon, point and line data you create into your CARTO Engine account. The plugin also gives a SQL filtering import, making it possible to get only a subset of your data, at will.

What this means is that using a CARTO Engine account (API key included), you can access your stored datasets and add them as layers to your QGIS projects for further processing.

Vornoi created

Once imported, you can edit them using the QGIS built-in tools and robust marketplace of plugins, blending it with existing data layers to build complex projects in a CartoDB/QGIS workflow. Some potential uses:

  • Deeper print capabilities for CartoDB: We have a great Static API to use in print work, but sometimes a job will need higher-resolution print capabilities. The CartoDB plugin enables this to happen in the QGIS Print Composer, a great way to get GIS into print production.

  • Rapid attribute editing: Changing large amounts of data and fine-tune attributes all at once in the QGIS interface.

  • Geo-processing Tools: Use QGIS analysis tools – voronoi diagrams, nearest neighbor and more – on your CartoDB data, then re-upload it with new vector data. Combine the analysis power of CartoDB and QGIS in a workflow.

Here’s and example of a Voronoi diagram done on New York City’s Citibike bike-sharing stations, using the QGIS CartoDB plugin:

There’s a lot more you can do with the CartoDB/QGIS workflow. The plugin can be downloaded from directly within the QGIS plugins menu, and installed in seconds. Try it out for yourself today.

Big thanks to Kudos for their help making this possible!

Happy data mapping!

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