Where technology meets the liberal arts

Google Fusion Tables

May 13th, 2014 | Posted by jcm in Digital Humanities | Digital Trends | GIS | Google | Research Tools | Technology Tools

… we’ll stop posting about Google products when they stop making cool stuff. You don’t see us talking about Google + much, do you?

One of the in-vogue things in the sciences and digital humanities is data visualization.  However, a lot of the time, you need some Javascript or other coding skills to make use of visualization tools like d3.  Not everyone has those, and not everyone wants to invest the time it takes to make something fantastic.  A lot of the time, you just want to be able to see your data in a different way, quickly and easily.  And some collaboration might be nice too.  That’s where Google Fusion Tables comes in.  You can still make fantastic things, but you can do it without needing programming skills.

In a way Fusion Tables, picks up where Google Maps Engine leaves off.  It lets users collect, link together and visualize data, and since it’s Google, you can use Google searches to find publicly available data and then, link your own data to that data, and finally create cool visualizations based on all of it, including map based visualizations:

FusionTables Example

And since this is a Google App that IT supports at St Olaf, Fusion Tables are accessible through your stolaf.edu Google account already– as part of Google Drive.  This also means, of course, that you can publish, share, and collaborate on your work with anyone who has a Google account.   Check the IT How-To Guides and Tutorials page in the coming months for a quick guide on getting started with Fusion Tables.

But, if you’re frantic to make your data pretty (and you should be!) you can check out Google’s tutorials right here, right now.

Happy visualizing!

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