Using Data to Change the World

CARTO

10. Reduced Inequalities 12. Responsible Consumption and Production 13. Climate Action 14. Life Below Water 15. Life on Land Flourish Prize Finalist - For Business as an Agent of World Benefit - Weatherhead School of Management

Overview

CARTO, through the use of spatial data, seeks innovative ways to better the world we live in. By collecting data and putting it together in ways that can be consumed, they are able to get it in the hands of the right people to make impactful change.

Authors

Zakary Kapilevich

Zakary Kapilevich

Cameron Khan

Cameron Khan

Amarys Berry

Amarys Berry

School

St. John's University

St. John's University

Professor

Charles Wankel

Charles Wankel

Innovation

CARTO is the world’s leading location intelligence platform. It empowers clients to use spatial data and analysis to increase efficiency both externally and internally for the company; this can range from geo-marketing, predicting time-saving delivery routes, optimizing store locations, and much more.

The company was founded in 2012 by Javier de la Torre and Sergio Alvarez and originally focused on conservation and environmental projects until they felt a large commercial demand for their technology. They broadened their horizons by increasing their data footprint; making it more widely available. Luis Sanz joined CARTO in 2019 as CEO, and Geographica was brought in to further the capabilities of spatial science data.

This innovation can relate to a sense of mission purely because they wish to bring more data to the table, as well as push their sustainability efforts both in conservation/environment, as well as through their partnerships that aim to help underprivileged communities with their data.

“The more accurate data that’s out there and freely available, more funds will get to these communities… raising awareness first and then through that awareness, you get this in the hands of the right people.” - Leo Mackey, Enterprise Customer Success Manager.

Using Data to Change the World

The Global Forest Watch interactive solution. Pictured are the defined regions around the world where biodiversity conservation is most urgent because of high levels of endemism and human threat. This database is hosted and visualized on CARTO.

Inspiration

The inspiration for this innovation was to bring awareness to what is happening in our environment, through data and software. Making this data public, as previously stated, brings more awareness to people who can make things happen to aid in the conservation of species and so forth. Not only that, but allowing access to this highly vital data is beneficial to more than one audience and can be used for a multitude of purposes such as sustainability efforts, company initiatives, species tracking, forecasting, tracking endangered species, and large-scale data analysis.

The main motivation for this innovation was to open the technology to a wider range of industries to show them what is going on around them, in terms of communities and species, through the use of location data. In conjunction with bringing spatial analysis to these organizations that had not previously used it, the company also partners with MIT and The World Bank to strengthen their sustainability initiatives.

Overall impact

CARTO has found a space in the business world in which they can profit while also helping the environment and under-developed areas of society. By utilizing the data that they collect and make it palatable so that it can be easily understood, CARTO can profit by selling data, making reselling agreements with over 30 data companies globally, and offering platform solutions and consulting (although very often for initiatives helping communities and the environment they offer consulting free of charge). By gathering data for the financial patterns in urban areas, CARTO is able to help these under-developed areas. With the use of investment vehicles like Article 80, which limits the capital gains tax for development in lower-income communities, it allows for the building of free low-cost housing to be built in these urban communities. This way, people can be closer to good jobs and lower the cost of living. The data gathered by CARTO is formatted for local governments to try to make these changes. By giving the information in the most digestible way possible, it can easily be received, clearly highlighting the problem and then presenting the solution.

By showing effective data, they are able to get the attention of investors in these areas that can grow, thus investing in the community. “ You will gather a lot of investment attention if you have strong research and data that shows this is an area that will grow.” - Leo Mackey, Enterprise Customer Success Manager.

In addition to helping the communities, CARTO also focuses on helping the environment by getting the data into the right hands to make a change. Through the use of data collected by the World Resource Institute, CARTO is able to collect the information and analyze it to have it then be presented to the fish and wildlife representatives so that many animals who are either endangered or not, as well as those that were once unregistered, can then be documented and tracked to better conserve their species. This data also helps them to conserve forests and the health of these forests through the use of their collected data. Through the use of collected data, they can analyze the way certain animal species migrate and understand better their life cycle so that the wildlife conservationists can take the needed measures to protect the species.

The first and main short-term goal and effect that CARTO wants to achieve to be effective is to bring awareness to the problem. Through awareness, change can be made. CARTO then looks long-term in order to get the right funding and investors to grow these underdeveloped communities, as well as get the right backing to get local governments to pass legislation to protect animal species and the environment.

Business benefit

Although CARTO does not charge for consulting with many of their conservationist organizations, CARTO uses their conservationist projects and data partnerships to build exposure so that they can work with other commercial companies. Being featured by MIT and the World Research Institute, allows them to connect with industry-leading professionals. CARTO’s pro bono work has a strong correlation with their commercial revenue growth of late.

Social and environmental benefit

The work that CARTO does benefits both society and the environment. The data and research CARTO provides for MIT allows for MIT to publish studies that are used by local governments for policymaking, including potential legislation for affordable housing. MIT’s Atlas of Inequality, powered by CARTO, is part of a broader initiative to understand human behavior in our cities and how large-scale problems like transportation, housing, segregation, or inequality depend in part on the emergent patterns of people’s individual opportunities and choices.

CARTO also works with the World Research Institute on real-time visualization dashboards to track endangered species in the forest. They use points of data provided by the World Research Institute to successfully visualize and monitor over 50,000 previously unmonitored species that are now reported across the globe to fish and wildlife organizations. CARTO has built databases that report on forests, animals, and endangered species, as well as bird migration patterns. They are currently working on climate change initiatives with WeatherSource to track natural disasters including wildfires, hurricanes, earthquakes, and other natural disasters, as well as COVID-19, focused initiatives with influential global groups like the World Bank.

Interview

Leo Mackey, Enterprise Customer Success Manager

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CARTO

CARTO

New York, New York, US

Business Website: https://carto.com

Year Founded: 2012

Number of Employees: 51 to 200

CARTO, through the use of spatial data, seeks innovative ways to better the world we live in. By collecting data and putting it together in ways that can be consumed, they are able to get it in the hands of the right people to make impactful change.