Google Fusion Tables Rocks

Google Fusion Tables is going to change the way we all interact with data. The site allows people to upload their own data, such as stuff stuck in spreadsheets, and do more interesting stuff with it, such as visualize trends, collaborate, and other stuff that works best when working together.

For example, someone could upload the Minneapolis Police Department’s crime spreadsheets so people can see which neighborhoods are increasing or decreasing in crime. Or filter by different types of crime. I’m working on this. Very close to ready.

Or, someone could get a data dump from the city of property records and view it by properties owned (I’m dabbling with this).

Google also pre-populates the service with publicly available data sets. For example, the map below shows 2007 fatality rates of pedestrians and cyclists by state.

Check it out.

4 thoughts on “Google Fusion Tables Rocks”

  1. After scraping public data for Dakota and Scott County jail inmates and level three sex offenders, I use Google’s charting gadgets to create fun graphic representations of the data (e.g. http://www.lazylightning.org/dynamic-minnesota-level-3-sex-offender-dashboard)

    To me the Google part is the easiest (and thus why I used it) but unfortunately they don’t show up correctly in Google Reader 🙁 I do have some problems with their fancy dancy tools though. Say you have a spreadsheet and you want to show a pie chart of ethnicity. You cannot do a A:A range for that, you have to specify A1:A100. When you add rows to this spreadsheet, via some API upload or however you get it in there, you have to update the call to the Charts API to have the chart update to use the new data.

    In order for my posts to work I have to insert new post information into the database via SQL every time I update the content to reflect the max number of rows. I really wish they’d just let you do A:A ranges and be done with it.

  2. Bill, I think Google Tables will be a better option for working with data in the way you described. It has the same or more options for visualization, and you can aggregate data around groups or rows.

  3. I already have all the customs tools I use built around Google’s Chart gadgets and Google Spreadsheets. I really don’t see any need, at the time, to fart around modifying that to use another tool.

    I guess I should have looked into the Tables API before I did it with Spreadsheets.

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