CartoDB, Location, GIS, and Investors


I was happy to read to day that CartoDB closed a $23 million Series B financing round. I’ve been impressed with CartoDB since I first saw it in action at FOSS4G in Denver in 2011. I’ve done a few posts on using the platform, which are starting to get long in the tooth but are still valid. I still find it one of the easiest post-GeoIQ ways to quickly host spatial data and build mapping applications. I probably need to spend a little time getting re-acqainted with the platform.

Today’s news follows the announcement over the summer of additional funding received by Mapbox. Both platforms attempt to tackle the problem of hosting large amounts of geospatial data and making it available for visualization and integration using means that are consistent with modern web technologies and techniques. If one were to draw a functional Venn diagram, it would probably show a lot of overlap, though each platform’s technical implementation is unique.

While it is valid for one to question whether the tech market in general is entering another “bubble” phase, both of these investments and the previous rounds that preceded them for both Mapbox and CartoDB, indicate to me that the tech market still has an interest in location, and perhaps even advanced, GIS-like location analytics, that has not been fully met.

I have often stated that I think industry generally recognizes the value of location, while the value of GIS is not as readily apparent. The continued investment in modern location platforms, despite the existence and availability of mature GIS platforms, does nothing to dissuade me from this observation. For whatever reason, tech industry investors continue to look at what is currently available and opt to continue building something new.