Have you found yourself creating a map in Google Fusion Tables as of late and suddenly found yourself lost and confused? Did things look different or slightly out of place?
Don’t fret. It’s not you; it’s Google. Really.
A map of deep injection wells in Oklahoma, made recently in the newfangled Google Fusion Maps.
If you would like to go back to your comfort zone, select “back to classic look” from the drop-down Help tab. (Actually, do this no matter what. It is the only way for it to display properly in our pre-built plug-in.) If you need any tips on using that tool, please refer to Matt Stiles’ handy, 20-minute webinar or simply follow the documentation here.
The New Look
If you don’t wish to use our plug in (and the lovely legend display that comes with it) and are simply uploading your data for your own reporting and background, here are the main differences in the new version, as far as we can tell:
1. The method of switching from map to table view.
We’ve updated the content-management system so that it’s easier to add data tables to posts — and to make them searchable and sortable with pagination. Even better: Reporters don’t have to touch any code.
This functionality is possible thanks to a plugin that transfers data from your Google Docs spreadsheets into our database and ultimately into your blog posts. Here’s how it works.
First, you’ll want to format the columns and rows in you’re Google Docs spreadsheet exactly how you’d like them to appear in the browser. For example, if I wanted this display:
Few journalists are programmers or graphic designers, but that doesn’t mean they can’t dabble in data journalism online. Here are some free, easy tools that you, our StateImpact reporters, will be using to tell stories.
• IBM Many Eyes: A site with multiple visualization tools, including interactive bubble charts, line graphs and tree maps. It’s also among the best (free) places to experiment with text visualization. It has weaknesses, though. Users can’t style graphics to match their own CSS, and the embeds require a Java browser plugin. Still, it’s a neat tool.
• Google Charts API: A tool that allows you to create and embed multiple, customizable chart styles without branding or clutter. The API also has multiple libraries for programmers to create charts dynamically from data. Here’s an example.