CartoCSS Essentials

Katie Kowalsky, UW-Madison



Robert Roth, UW-Madison


I go to UW-Madison, work at the Cartography Lab, and teach at Maptime! 

I like cheese a lot

Last Spring,
I did a thing.

Goal: Build lab curriculum using CartoCSS


  • Teach an unfamiliar medium (THE WEB!)
  • Introduce Mapbox Studio & CartoDB
  • Get students familiar with programming before HTML/CSS and JavaScript
  • Challenge Students!

Challenge: Create a tileset using CartoCSS based off of art

Roy Lichtenstein - M-MAYBE HE BECAME ILL, 1965

(Thank you PSU students  & Sidonie Christophe and Charlotte Hoarau for inspiration!)

From this I learned a lot about CartoCSS!

... It can
be really hard!

(You can do it! )

Tips & Tricks for designing map tiles

1. It's dangerous to go alone!

Plan ahead for what you want to have in your tile design & make a game plan

2. Mise en Place 

Use Global Variables

Make multiple Style Sheets!

Hack Project.yml for custom layers

3. Attachments

4. Attributes Are Awesome

5. Never forget where you came from...

6. Have Fun!


NACIS 2015

By kkowalsky

NACIS 2015

NACIS 2015 PCD presentation on "CartoCSS Essentials"

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