vs Studio

If you are coming to the Studio Platform and have previously used, it will likely be clear that Studio is built on foundations.

This typically leads to a number of natural questions:

  • What new features do the Studio Platform (and Studio in particular) bring to the table?
  • As a casual/personal user of, would it make sense for me to create a free Studio account and start using Studio instead of
  • As a commercial user, will the additional features of the Studio Platform make me consider signing up for a paid Studio plan?
  • As a commercial user, what features of a paid Studio plan will be useful for me?
  • Do Studio and the Studio Platform provide the right tools for me?

The sections below aim to solve these questions. However, if you have further questions regarding the differences between and Studio, feel free to reach out in the Studio Community slack channel.

About is best known as a geospatial application enabling powerful GPU-powered visualization and exploration on the web.

On, users have access to a rich geospatial feature set, including highly-configurable layers, a variety of base maps, customizable filters, and much more. For more information about the feature set,
the documentation is a great resource.

However, the application that users interact with in the browser is effectively a demo app for the framework. The open source application has no back-end, and runs solely
in a web browser, which is sometimes an advantage, but at other times presents limitations.

At its core is:

  • A framework designed for building advanced geospatial web applications. Many organizations build custom geospatial application integrations on top of
  • A Linux Foundation project. was transferred from Uber to open governance under the auspices of the UCF (Urban Computing Foundation) in 2019.
  • A project that was initially developed at Uber to support Uber internal geospatial use cases (by the same engineers that are now working on at Studio) but is now governed and developed by its open source community.

Note: is a key part of the Studio open core technology stack, and Studio is today the main contributor to and maintainer of and related open source frameworks. So regardless of whether you choose to use Studio or (or both), we hope you enjoy the experience!

About Foursquare Studio

Before outlining what Foursquare Studio adds to, note that Studio is part of a comprehensive geospatial analytics platform, currently consisting of the following components:

Studio has built upon features that require additional resources, such as published maps, analytics modules, and connectors to a variety of databases and data providers.
Additionally, as Studio is built on top of, it offers nearly all of the great functionality, extended with new layers, new filters, and entirely new modules.

The Data SDK is designed to enable deep integration of Studio maps, data and analytics services with you or your organization's work flow, allowing automated, large-scale management of data and maps.

Additionally, the Map SDK gives developers the ability to build advanced applications with customized user interface and interactions on top of published Studio maps.

The Data Catalog contains curated data processed into data-rich Hex Tiles, which can be joined, extracted, and calculated in columns. You may use any data found in the data catalog to bring context to your projects.

Finally, while is widely viewed as a strong visualization platform, Foursquare takes the platform one step further with an emphasis on analysis. The Hex Tile analytic tiling system described above is designed with big data in mind, allowing users to process their datasets into H3 tiles that scale as a viewer zooms in and out. Studio also offers analysis modules, such as cluster and outlier analysis (allowing users to view hotspots and coldspots), and suitability analysis (a tool that shows the most optimal locations for a given use-case based on user-defined criteria).

Note: Naturally, one may be concerned about losing features in the transition from an open-source application to a company's product. However, Studio has a generous free tier that contains everything offered in along with much more.

Studio Features

Admin BoundariesNoShapifyStudio can generate polygons from columns containing admin boundaries, such as counties and ZIP codes.
Advanced AnimationNoYesStudio can link data and layer animations, offsets incremental animation mode. The trip layer also supports advanced animation with custom models, configurable trails, and other advanced features.
Analysis ModulesNoCluster/Outlier, Suitability
ChartsNoTooltip charts, Line charts, Bar charts
Color ScalesQuantile, QuantizeJenks, Custom
Data ImportCSV, GeoJSONShapefiles, Vector Tiles, and moreStudio supports a wider range of file types than
Data OperationsNoColumns, Joins, Group Bys...Columns can be created and can contain custom expressions supported by a library of functions.
Globe ModeNoYes
Hex TilesNoYesHex Tiles are an analytic tiling system built on top of H3. can export to HTML but does not provide any hosting. When you publish a map in Studio, it can be accessed by anyone with a link.
Raster/COGNoRaster Layer
Save to CloudNoAutomaticIn, work is lost when you close the tab.
TimelinesSingle dataset/layerMultiple datasetsStudio can link multiple timelines.
Vector TilesNoVector Tile Layer
Video ExportNoGIF, WebM

On top of offering cloud-based management of your maps and geospatial data, Studio offers a growing list of integrations with other key geospatial and data science tools.

Data ConnectorsNoPrestoDB, PostgreSQL, BigQuery, Athena, Planet...Studio provides connectors to popular databases and data providers.
Grafana integrationNoYes
JupyterCreate mapComprehensive API, cloud notebook supportStudio offers filters, events, integrations, and more.
QGIS integrationNoYes
Tableau integrationYesUpcoming

The tables above provide a glimpse into what Studio has developed on the framework. Development is ongoing at a rapid pace. Follow the progress by visiting our release notes.


As mentioned above, the Studio team has invested in the platform's analysis modules:

Studio Pro Features

Studio offers a variety of features for those with a paid plan, primarily benefiting organizations.

  • Support for teams, including shared datasets, maps, and data connectors, facilitating optimal collaboration.
  • Data connectors with a feature-rich query system, allowing users to save common queries from their databases and other data hosting platforms.
  • Specialty layers such as the flow layer, aggregating origin-destination movement patterns.
  • Significantly increased data storage.
  • Unbranded map publishing.
  • Password protection for published maps.
  • Increased publish quotas.
  • Developer support.