Even though Google Fusion tables is still labelled as an experimental app we have an option to use its great ability to visualize our structured data that would probably pass unnoticed if left in a plain table.
Google is putting great efforts into Research & Development of Data management and is trying to innovate ways of data being stored, visualized and shared hence Fusion tables have been created.
As part of our assessment we had to create a Fusion table outlining an Irish population Heat map based on the 2011 census data. For this particular exercise we had to merge 2 different sets of data, Table 1 had details about population and Table 2 had geographical data. First we had to upload both files into the Fusion tables app in certain format (CSV & KML) and once the files were available we were able to merge the two. While in the process of merging we had to confirm “The source of match” in both files and what columns we wanted to be available in our output file. Once our merged table was created we could view “Map of geometry”.
To create a Heat map of Irish population by counties based on population density we had to break the range of population numbers into five buckets and apply a colour scheme with a different shade for each bucket. As well, the map legend had to be added.
If you wish to share the map you have to change the Privacy setting to “Public”. There are multiple options to share the map such as email, Facebook, Blog etc. As part of this exercise we had to embed the map in a blog post. The embedding codes can be taken when clicking on the “Publish” command.
Please find the image of the Irish population heat map for 2011 below.
If you wish to see larger map please click here.
When looking into the Irish population heat map 2011 l can see a random distribution of population by counties and that could help different Government Departments when planning how and where to invest in infrastructure, education, hospitals etc…
Heat maps in general can help to visualize the content of a tabular data in much a more user friendly way. Users are turning to visualization tools more and more in order to get attention where needed. There are several types of heat maps used in different disciplines (A Web heat map is showing areas of a web page most frequently visited by Users; Biology heat maps are used mostly in molecular biology; Geographical heat maps can visualize Global food produce etc.) As well, there are numerous heat map software implementations and one of them will be covered in the next post – R Statistics.
We could agree that a picture is worth a thousand words and Fusion tables is great visualization tool that helps on our way to achieve goals that we set up.
I hope you’ll enjoy the simplicity of Google Fusion tables and that will it enhance and illuminate your future work.