This tutorial introduces you to three aspects of using Fusion Tables: How to start a new table, how to navigate the table interface and how to use filter.
(This post is part two of a 5-part tutorial on creating Fusion Tables intensity map; the other parts are listed as related posts at end of this post)
Prepare data for Fusion Tables
Your raw data need to conform to a specific format for use with Fusion Tables; as a result, before you can import data to Fusion Tables, you either create from scratch a standard table or “clean” an existing one. Read a tutorial on how to clean tabular data for use by Tableau Public (a popular data visualization tool) – the concepts are the same for Fusion Tables data.
Start a new table
When you hit “Create” on the start page of Google Fusion Tables, you will see three options in the popup window asking how you want to import a new table:
From this computer: If you have a spreadsheet on your computer, then click Browse to locate the file then click “Next” at botton of that window.
Google Spreadsheets: If you previously uploaded a spreadsheet to your Google Drive account, you can choose this option and select the desired file in the popup window.
Create empty table: If you want to start from scratch, choose this option and a new, blank table will be created where you can add to the table do all the typical editings with a spreadsheet table. Note that in this case, a “New Table” will be created and automatically saved to your Google Drive; in other words, you won’t see or need to use a separate Save button to save the table.
Notice that for all three options, you will see a search box for public data tables – this is where you can search for all the publicly shared data tables using keywords related to your own subject or topic.
How to navigate the table interface
It is essential that you know how a Fusion Tables table looks and is structured – you must structure your raw data accordingly. Let’s first look at a New Table:
The new table comes with default columns such as Text, Number, Location, Data; you can always change the column name by clicking the column name and, in the dropdown menu, selecting “Change” to change the column name. To add new rows and columns, click Edit on the menu bar and select appropriate commands in the dropdown menu. To rename the table, click File on the menu bar and select “rename” command, or you can directly click on the default New Table and type it over with a new name.
By default, a new table comes with three tabs: Rows, Cards and Map of Location; these three tabs provide different views of the data set: Rows shows data in a table format, Cards shows each record in a card, and Map of Location shows individual record on a map (if the Location column has valid geometry data).
How to use filter
When working with a large data set, you may have the need to isolate and work with a subset of the data, you then need to use the built-in filter function to get what you need. As a demonstration, check out a public data table, Rich People and Their “Green” Investments, which lists 100 rich people in the world who have investments in green energy projects.
Let’s say, among the 100 rich people, I only want to examine data about rich people in the U.S. To do that, I need to apply a filter to the Country column and filter out all the USA entries. Here’s a 3-step guide on how to filter out U.S. rich people and then download the data as a new table.
Step 1: click the blue filter tab; you will see a list of column names in this table, then click Country.
Step 2: Type USA in the search box; when you type letter U, you will see automatic matches that begin with U, i.e., UK and USA, choose USA and hit Find. You will see 34 results being filtered out.
Step 3: You can start working with the filtered set of data, or you may want to download them as a new table and later upload it to Fusion Tables for a new project. To do that, click File on the menu bar and click Download in the dropdown menu; in the popup window, make sure you select “Filtered rows” for Content and CSV for Format, as shown below:
- Google Maps tutorial (part 1/5): What Fusion Tables is and does
- Google Maps tutorial (part 3/5): How Fusion Tables map works
- Google Maps tutorial (part 4/5): About KML/KMZ geographic files
- Google Maps tutorial (part 5/5): How to create a Fusion Tables intensity map
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