I discovered Google’s Fusion Tables tool while preparing for a workshop on Google Tools for Reference Staff at the CT Library Consortium’s Reference Roundtable meeting last week. I’m still exploring all the features!
Fusion Tables is a Google Labs project that lets you work with sets of data uploaded from Google Docs spreadsheets or other .xls files. It lets you create charts, graphs and maps to visualize your data, filter data to focus on subsets of your data and even merge it with other publicly available data tables to create new data sets.
One very handy visualization is the Intensity Map. This is based on geography and your table must have a column with some geogaphic information – states, countries, etc. For example a table with state population data from the census can be turned into this sort of data map:
The Filter feature lets you find data in your tables based on certain conditions and create new visualizations in a flash. For example, this map of states with population over 10 million.
If you make your data public, you can embed visualizations on other web pages.
The aggregate feature opens up all sorts of possibilities for sharing data sets. This feature lets you can pull in columns of data from data tables that others have shared.
Are you using this tool? Or do you have ideas for how it could be used? I’d love to see examples of what others are doing with it.