16 :: Google Fusion Tables

Before we get today’s map, I’m going to tell you a little history.  I had a colleague who worked for another department of the University that I work at, who also had an interest in mapping. A couple of years ago, she made a map of various historical and recreational places from the City of Windsor Open Data catalogue in about 30 minutes using Google Fusion Tables.


This is how I made this map, but not exactly what I’d do next time. See note below.

  1. download csv files from the City of Windsor Site

  2. refine data using Excel* (see note below): columns were in different order on different spreadsheets, not all included all columns, added data type and icon type.

  3. import all spreadsheets into Google Fusion Tables

  4. modify data to recognize lat & long coordinates as Location

  5. Visualize map to view the data points on GoogleMaps.

  6. Embed map in blog.

  7. Share!

It only took 30 minutes because when you have clean machine readable data, making simple Google Maps isn’t too difficult for those comfortable with simple web creation.

So I made my own map yesterday and it also took me about 30 minutes (minus the extra data entry I did to add images to my marker tags).  It would have taken me even less time, but I had a couple mishaps as I made my map.

First, I couldn’t find the basemap behind my “map” of little red dots floating in black space.

solutionStep 5 :: columns of longitude and latitude need to be ‘geocoded’ before they can be understood. Geocoding is under the File menu. Mapping is now a ‘tab’ in Fusion Tables

Secondly, once I found my basemap, I saw that I was in Antarctica.

solution: latitude and longitude need to be swapped around.

And here is my map:

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