Google Fusion Tables for Dummies


When I say “dummies”, I really mean myself. Just so we’re all aware.

Anyway, for my final project I plan to make a fusion table of NIMBY requests in the UK, but before I do that, I figured that I had to practice. I’ve tried making them before with rather disastrous results, so this is my last-ditch effort to make something worthwhile before I call one of the Henrys sobbing at 4 am trying to make a GFT.

For the purposes of this post, I’m going to try mapping the places where the EDL demonstrated in 2012. This list isn’t exhaustive (let’s be real, I’m using Wikipedia for this practice run) but it gives me enough geographic diversity and a common theme to let me experiment.

I first took a table of data from Wikipedia and, after fact-checking it, put it into Google Spreadsheets. I then created a Fusion Table using said spreadsheet, and because the data was clean enough, it mapped itself fairly easily. I lacked specific postcodes for the locations of the demonstrations, but Google Fusion Tables recognised the locations well enough, and it geocoded accurately and quickly.

Screenshot from Google Fusion Tables
Screenshot from Google Fusion Tables

I initially had four bits of information for every location, including, well, location, number of demonstrators, date, and results. Because the results (arrests, etc) were not available for every demonstration, I decided to take them off the map. That was done by clicking on “map of location”

Screen Shot 2013-04-24 at 3.51.16 PM


and then “change info window layout”. I then simply deselected “results” and the data was a lot cleaner!

I know for a fact that professional GFTs are a lot more complex, but I’m quite happy with this one. Here’s hoping I’ll learn how to use different colours on GFTs before the final project is due!

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