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Google Fusion Tables – Free Visualization Tool

08 Jun

Google does search very well. But Google does so much more than that. Think GMail and Blogger, YouTube and Picasa, Google Maps and Google Earth, to name just a few. The Google products page at present lists about 50 tools across categoires Web, Mobile, Media, Geo, Home & Office, Social, Specialized Search, and Innovation. In this last category is Google Fusion Tables, a free tool to share, analyze and visualize data on the web.

You can upload, display and edit your own data, do some filter, aggregate, merge operations, and leverage a series of typical visualization options (Table, Map, Line, Bar, Pie, Scatter…), similar to what you expect from a spreadsheet tool like Excel or Numbers. Through integration with Google Maps APIs it is easy to generate geographical maps and charts such as this demonstration of average cigarette use in countries across the world.

Sample Demonstration of Google Fusion Tables tool showing a world intensity map of cigarette use.

This makes the tool a good candidate to learn or teach about data visualization and play with the available sample data. The bucket of available public tables is rather unstructured – no taxonomy or hierarchical structure – and search for tables is surprisingly limited.
That said, there are plenty of documents, FAQ, APIs, and Forum discussions. And some of the demonstrations are quite useful, for example the website newspapermap.com which shows an interactive world-map with more than 10.000 newspapers in their respective geographies and color-coded in the published language:

Note the color-code for different languages.

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Posted by on June 8, 2011 in Industrial, Socioeconomic

 

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