This introductory workshop was given by Santiago Giraldo Anduaga on September 30, 2014 at The CartoDB Mapping Challenge. As taught, it was 3 hours long.

#Day 1

Who am I

Creating your accounts

Set you up with accounts here, This will give you a free upgrade to our student plan.

Brief introduction to CartoDB

  • Tour of dashboard
  • Common data
  • Public profile
  • Workflow

Let’s Get Mapping!

Here, we’ll make a map of world earthquakes. You can grab the data from Common Data in your account, you can find the link to Common Data up top.

common data

  • Table and map view
  • Changing data attributes/manipulating data
  • Styling data using the GUI
  • Torque
  • Popup/Hover windows
  • Legends
  • Basemaps
  • Publishing

Let’s Go a Little Deeper…

Navigate back to your dashboard.

###Creating Multi-Layered Maps

How to import from a URL: First right click and ‘copy’ this link for NYC borough boundaries

  • Types of uploads supported
  • Adding a table
  • Creating a visualization

Adding a layer (table) from local source: Click this link to download the NYC rat sightings shapefile on to your computer

  • Map hierarchy
  • Styling multiple layers

##Your First Choropleth!

  • Column Join VS Spatial Join
  • Spatial join City Council Districts with Rat Sightings
  • Visualizing point information in polygons

Publishing maps

  • Visualizations
  • Labels and annotations
  • Layout
  • Publishing options

CartoDB Advanced: Built in APIs

  • filters and SQL
  • CartoCSS
  • Editing legends and windows with HTML
  • Manually adding data
  • Intro to Odyssey.js
  • Example of Odyssey.js: The Berlin Story

###Don’t be afraid to explore the possibilities behind our powerful APIs using these CartoDB advanced resources:

  • The CartoDB Academy is great for recapping the basics, starting to use our APIs, and growing your design capabilities
  • This handy CartCSS Reference Sheet is a quick guide for beginners to CartoCSS
  • This blog post talks about how I made the Berlin Story
  • This video and tutorial will quickly help you take your Odyssey.js stories to the next level
  • If you have any questions or need any help, I am also available as a resource! Please email me at

##The Challenge!

Take your new found knowledge and create your own map or map series that tells a data story relevant to your work and interests!

Your presentation should contain 5 main elements:

  • A researched and well constructed narrative
  • consistency between visual elements and story: Your map must tell a visual data story!
  • Conveys a firm grasp of CartoDB basics by using 2 or more of the skills learned today
  • An attempt at advanced functions or design using provided resources above
  • A walkthrough of the process for achieving the final map

Here are some examples of data stories:


Here is a link to a huge resource for data across the web. It is broken down into International resources, US based resources, and NYC based resources. Remember - shapefiles (.shp) must be zipped with all the files before importing to CartoDB

Here’s a link to NYC Open Data Portal where you can search for and download data about NYC (Simply go to export at the top right when a data set is open and download as a shapefile or CSV)

#Day 2

Today will be reserved for presentations, Q & A, and a discussion about the platform, challenges, and feedback with myself and guest reviewer Vanessa Hamer

Happy Mapping!