Folium vs Bokeh: Which is Better?

Folium vs Bokeh: Which is Better?

When it comes to visualizing geographical data in Python, Folium and Bokeh stand out as two powerful libraries, each with its unique strengths and purposes.

Both Folium and Bokeh serve the purpose of creating interactive visualizations, but they differ in their functionalities, ease of use, and focus areas.

Let’s delve deeper into the comparison between Folium and Bokeh across various aspects:

PurposePrimarily used for creating interactive mapsDesigned for creating versatile interactive visualizations
Ease of UseSimple and straightforward, ideal for beginnersRequires more coding knowledge, steeper learning curve
Map VisualizationOffers easy creation of leaflet.js-based mapsProvides basic mapping capabilities but not the main focus
InteractivityProvides basic interactivity with mapsOffers advanced tools for creating highly interactive plots
CustomizationLimited customization options for mapsHighly customizable visualizations and plot aesthetics
PerformanceSuitable for small to medium-sized datasetsEfficient handling of large datasets and complex visuals
Supported Data TypesWorks well with GeoJSON, Pandas DataFramesCompatible with various data formats, arrays, and data sources
Community SupportActive community with regular updates and fixesWell-established community with frequent library enhancements
IntegrationIntegrates seamlessly with Jupyter NotebooksWorks well with Jupyter Notebooks and web applications


Folium is an excellent choice for creating interactive maps effortlessly. It operates on the leaflet.js library, enabling users to generate maps directly from Python code.

This library is well-suited for beginners due to its simplicity and ease of use.

Folium simplifies the process of generating maps by allowing the creation of maps with just a few lines of code, making it an ideal choice for quick visualizations or simple geographical presentations.

However, Folium might have limitations in terms of advanced customization and handling large datasets efficiently.


On the other hand, Bokeh offers a more robust solution for creating interactive visualizations beyond just maps.

Bokeh provides a wide range of tools and capabilities to create highly interactive plots and visualizations, including geographical plots.

It offers more customization options, making it suitable for creating complex and visually appealing graphics.

Bokeh’s focus on interactivity and its ability to handle larger datasets efficiently make it an excellent choice for more advanced data visualization projects.

Which One to Choose?

The choice between Folium and Bokeh depends on the specific requirements of your project.

If your primary focus is on creating interactive maps quickly and easily, especially for simple data visualizations, Folium might be the preferable option due to its simplicity and ease of use.

However, if you need more advanced customization, interactivity, and want to create a wide range of visualizations beyond maps, Bokeh would be a better choice.

Final Conclusion on Folium vs Bokeh: Which is Better?

In conclusion, both Folium and Bokeh serve different purposes in the realm of data visualization.

Folium is more focused on creating interactive maps with simplicity, while Bokeh provides a broader range of tools and customization options for creating interactive visualizations beyond geographical data.

Ultimately, the selection between Folium and Bokeh should be based on the specific project requirements, considering factors such as the complexity of visualization, level of interactivity needed, and the size of the dataset to be visualized.


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