Fusion Tables Tutorial

what are Fusion Tables?

Google Fusion Tables are spreadsheets whose values are correlated with geographic information. Our goal in this tutorial is to show you how we are working with Fusion Tables as Tracking Tools for our 6% Place experiment and to point you towards other resources that can help you to use this incredibly powerful and easy-to-use tool.

why Fusion Tables?

As Alon Halevy and Peter Gleick explain in the video below, data by itself doesn’t tell a story. Fusion Tables are an innovative and simple way to visualize data.

Some examples of Fusion Tables include: Google’s Fusion Tables example gallery; Simon Rogers’ maps in The Guardian; Peter Aldhous’ map of deep sea vents; and cityLAB’s own maps.

elements of
Fusion Tables

1) CSV files:
The format used to upload data to Fusion Tables is comma separated values (CSV). This format is editable in Excel. In order to produce maps from Fusion Tables, the CSV file has to include location information. You can read more about what types of geographic data Fusion Tables can map here.

2) Info windows:
Info windows provide you with a space to put text or whatever HTML you like, wherever you like on your map. You choose the content of your info window (that is, which columns of data from the spreadsheet will appear in it) in Fusion Tables.

For further instructions, here is a good set of instructions written in plain English and here is Google’s own documentation on info windows.

instructions

1) Open a Fusion Tables account at google.com/fusiontables.

2) Import Table. Select New Table > Import Table. Tables can be difficult to edit within Fusion Tables, so it is preferable to edit them in Excel first before uploading them. Tables can also be exported as CSV files, so if you need to edit a Fusion Table, it can be exported, edited in Excel, and then imported back into the Fusion Table. You can read more about importing file types here.

3) Visualize by selecting “Visualize Map.” Your data will be rendered as a map! To view it as a table again, simply click “Visualize Table.”

4) Configure info windows by selecting “Configure info window” while you are viewing the rendered map. You can check or uncheck the content that you’d like to have appear in the info window. If, for example, you want to change the name of the variable displayed (without changing the value in the spreadsheet), click “Custom” and edit and save that content. Click on a region of your map to see the info window with your latest changes.

5) Embed your Fusion Table into another website, so that it is visible outside of Fusion Tables by selecting “Share” in the upper-right corner of the screen, and then changing the “Visibility Options” to “Public”. Select “Get Embeddable Link” and copy-paste that text to embed the map into another webpage.

questions?

If you have any questions that that have not been answered in this document, or if you require greater detail, Google’s own resources will be the best way to find an answer. Find more about Google’s Fusion Tables API here, and see Google’s dedicated Fusion Tables support here.