Lucky was the day I came across the software package Cartes&Données from Artique. As a consultant in natural resource management I often work with tabulated data in a spatial setting. I often have therefore a need to present such data on maps.

There are GIS packages, both commercial and open source, which allow you to produce maps, but the numerical processing to optimally use tabulated data is cumbersome. There are dedicated statistical software packages, both commercial and open source, but although these package also contain visualisation options, they don’t contain spatial solutions, or these options are limited.

Cartes&Données I found to give me exactly the tools I needed to spatially process tabulated data and be able to make maps that convey the meaning and message of these data in a glance, that tables cannot do. This is true for relatively simple maps, containing one variable only, such as population numbers, and for more complicated maps, that need to display two or more variables. As an example, look at the map that displays both population density and the proportion of Special Use Forest area relative to the area of provinces in Vietnam.

The software also proves very easy to use. I find the application of building up a map by arranging modules with dedicated functions in a diagram intuitive and very easy to grasp and learn. In a very short time I was able to make useful maps after having followed Articque’s practice files and having studied its example maps. Not only is the learning swift, building up diagrams and making maps is also swift. It is therefore also a time saver.

I am very pleased with the powerful calculation and statistical tools, that allow you to process data and see them instantly displayed on a map. It is a unique feature that you can use multiple GIS coverages in combination with a variety of database sources, including simple text files, to build up a statistical analysis, link them to visualisation tools, and then to an end display tool, producing the map. It is also very useful to be able to link modules more than once to other modules, thus being able to use the same calculation or visualisation arrangement for more than one map.

All in all, Cartes&Données is an excellent data analysis and visualisation sofware package, that is a joy to use, and makes ones work more efficient, deserving nine-and-a-half out of ten points. The just-not-yet-ten is for encouraging Articque to improve some map layout tools with resizing, aligning and snap functions, which would be helpful, but don’t affect the overall functionality and usability. Thank you Articque.

Mr Steeman