Google Fusion Tables

Introduction to Programming the Google Maps API (v3)

Posted on May 19, 2011. Filed under: GeoSpatial Training Services, Google Fusion Tables, Google Maps |

GeoSpatial Training Services is pleased to announce the release of our newest instructor guided, Internet based course, Introduction to Programming the Google Maps API.  This is for version 3 of the API.

The first session of this course runs from June 20th – July 1st

This course will be taught by Eric Pimpler, Qualified Google Maps Developer.

The first 10 students to register will receive free entry to our follow-up course, Advanced Google Maps API Programming which runs from July 11th – July 22nd.

This is our entry level programming course for the Google Maps API (version 3), and is designed to enable you to build Google Maps applications for the web.  We will cover a lot of ground in this course.  By the end of our time together you will understand all the basic concepts you need to create dynamic web mapping applications with the Google Maps API.  We’ll start with some basic information about programming the Maps API and then we’ll dive into the longest section of our course: Basic Concepts of the Google Maps API.  In this module you’ll learn how to add and remove map controls for panning, zooming, setting map types, overview map, and the scale bar.  You’ll then learn how to add your own data to the map display using markers, polylines, and polygons.  One of the more creative functions provided with the Google Maps API is the ability to drape images across the map.  For instance, you might want to display wildlife habitats on top of Google Maps.  This is done through the use of Ground Overlays.  Ground Overlays allow you to drape historical map images and specific purpose maps on top of a Google  base map.  Building on this concept you will then learn how to add KML, GeoRSS, and FusionTables layers on top of the map.  In module 3 you will learn how to handle events.  Events are actions that take place in your application such as map clicks or drags.  Normally they are initiated by the end user but they can also be internally generated events such as the re-setting of the map center.  In module 4 you will learn how to convert addresses into geographic coordinates that can be displayed as Marker locations on the map.  You’ll also learn how to take a point of interest and find the nearest address to the point.  This is known as reverse geocoding.  Finally, we’ll wrap up the course with a module on the Google Elevation Service.  In this module you’ll learn how to obtain elevation data for a point or an elevation profiles for points along a line.

Modules
Module 1: Introduction to Programming the Google Maps API
Module 2: Basic Concepts of the Google Maps API
- Adding Controls to the Map (Zoom, Pan, Map Types, Overview Map, Scale Bar, Street View)
-  Creating Overlays (Markers, Polylines, Polygons)
-  Display Images with Ground Overlays
-  Creating Layers (KML, GeoRSS, FusionTables)
Module 3: Handling Events
Module 4: Geocoding with the Google Maps API
- Geocoding
- Reverse Geocoding
Module 5: The Google Elevation Service

Course Exercises
Create Your First Google Map
Working with Map Options
Adding and Removing Map Controls
Adding Markers to the Map
Creating and Displaying Info Windows
Adding Ground Overlays to the Map
Display KML Files on the Map
Adding Fusion Tables to the Map
Responding to Map and Marker Events
Geocoding Addresses
Using Reverse Geocoding to Find an Address for a Location
Obtaining Elevation for Points and Paths

Register Now: $249
Add to Cart

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Adding a Fusion Table to Google Maps

Posted on May 19, 2011. Filed under: Google Fusion Tables, Google Maps, Uncategorized |

Google Fusion Tables, still in the experimental stages of development, is a Google product that allows you to upload and share data in multiple tables.  These tables can be joined together to create derived tables and provide a way of visualizing and sharing data.  With the Fusion Tables API you can upload, query, download, and sync your datasets.  The Google Maps API provides a new FusionTablesLayer object that connects to these Fusion Tables and can automatically render the location data in a Fusion Table as well as display additional information about each feature through a clickable overlay.

 In this exercise you will learn how to display the Geo-tagged Wikipedia Articles Fusion Table in Google Maps. 

Step 1: Open the Exercise File

Step 2: Fusion Tables Basics

  • Note: Before continuing with this exercise you will want to make sure that you have a Google account which is necessary to access Fusion Tables.
  • Login to Fusion Tables
  • Once you’ve logged into Fusion Tables use the Search text box to enter the words “Geo-tagged Wikipedia”
  • This should return a relatively short list of available tables as seen in the figure below.  Your results may vary though.
  • Select the table that I’ve highlighted in the figure above.  There should be roughly 424,000 records in this table. 
  • When this table is open you will notice a ‘Location’ field that contains the latitude, longitude coordinates for each record.  This field needs to be present in a Fusion Table for it to be capable of being viewed in Google Maps. 
  • You can view the contents of this table in a Google Map by selecting Visualize –> Map.

    You can also use the Google Maps API to programmatically add a Fusion Table to your application.  In the next step you’ll learn how to do this.  However, before doing so you will need to obtain unique identifier for the table.
  • Select File –> About from the Fusion Table interface.  This will display a dialog box containing information about the table as seen in the figure below.  Please note the ID that I have highlighted below.  You will use this ID when programmatically adding this Fusion Table to a Google Map.

Step 3: Adding a Fusion Table with the Google Maps API
The FusionTablesLayer class in the Google Maps API is used to add Fusion Tables to your custom Google Maps applications.  The constructor for this object takes a FusionTablesLayerOptions object which can contain properties such as map, query, heatmap, styles, and others.  In this step we’ll focus on using the ‘query’ property to define the Fusion Table to add to the map.

  • Add the following code block and then we’ll discuss.

    The ‘query’ property of the FusionTablesLayerOptions object is essentially a SQL query.  The ‘select’ statement queries the ‘location’ field from table ‘423292’ which as you’ll remember from the previous step is the unique id for the Geo-tagged Wikipedia Fusion Table. 
  • Save your work and open in a web browser to display the data from the Fusion Table.
    You can also add a ‘where’ clause to your query to filter the results.  This particular Fusion Table doesn’t include additional fields that you can use to filter the results, but you can imagine that if there were a field named ‘Country’ you could restrict the results through the addition of a ‘where’ clause that might look something like this:

Step 4: Fusion Tables Heatmaps
Fusion Tables also provide limited support for heat maps, where the density of matched locations is depicted using a palette of colors. Current heatmaps use a red (dense) to green (sparse) gradient to indicate the relative prevalence of associated locations. You enable a heatmap by setting the layer’s FusionTablesLayerOptionsheatmap’ parameter to ‘enabled: true’.

  • Add the following code block to your exercise file to enable the heatmap for the Wikipedia Fusion Table.
  • Save your work and open in a web browser to display the data as a heatmap.  Pretty cool!

 Want to learn more about programming the Google Maps API?  The first session of our instructor guided, web based course, Introduction to Programming the Google Maps API begins June 20th and runs through July 1st.  Course cost is $249.00.  The first 10 students receive a free pass to our follow-up course Advanced Google Maps API Programming which runs from July 11th-July 22nd.  Both courses are taught by Eric Pimpler, Qualified Google Maps API Developer.

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Heat Mapping with Google Fusion Tables?

Posted on March 3, 2010. Filed under: Google Fusion Tables, Google Maps |

I’ve written previously on Google Fusion Tables and its potential for creating dynamic mapping and visualization applications.  As I mentioned last time…….

the compelling thing about Fusion Tables is its integration with the Google Maps API and Google Visualization API.  Visualizations are also real time as Fusion Tables automatically updates data as it is updated or corrected.  With the Fusion Tables API you can also update or query the database programmatically.  Data can also be imported from various data sources including text files and relational database management systems.

Well, Google recently announced some exciting new additions to the API.  According to the announcement you can now upload and map large amounts of geographic data.  This used to require a developer, but now you can do it yourself. You can also now hide and show different data depending on your own criteria.

The folks at MTBGuru.com detailed their use of the new capabilities in a blog post.  Some of the screen shots from their application can be seen below.  The data driving their application is stored in a Fusion Table.  I’m particularly impressed with the capability of creating heat maps as seen in the second figure.

Here the heat map shows the density of bike tracks in a certain area.

Google is continuing to push the envelope in the mapping and visualization space.  Fusion Tables isn’t getting the press is deserves at this time, but I think that is going to change rapidly as people get a better understanding of how it can be used.

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Google Fusion Tables API Integration with Maps and Visualization APIs

Posted on December 16, 2009. Filed under: Google Fusion Tables, Google Maps, Google Visualization API |

Google announced this week that Fusion Tables now has its own API.  Fusion Tables, still in Google Labs, allows you to upload data sets from spreadsheets or CSV files and visualize the data on maps, timeslines, and charts.  In addition, the collaborative nature of Fusion Tables enables you to not only share data with other organizations, but also merge your data with other user datasets, embed comments, and allow collaborative editing of the data.

Now, obviously Google Docs has been around awhile so uploading your spreadsheet data to this type of application is nothing new, but the compelling thing about Fusion Tables is its integration with the Google Maps API and Google Visualization API.  Visualizations are also real time as Fusion Tables automatically updates data as it is updated or corrected.  With the Fusion Tables API you can also update or query the database programmatically.  Data can also be imported from various data sources including text files and relational database management systems.

I think we’ll see a lot of good web mapping applications built with a combination of Fusion Tables, Google Maps, and Google Visualization perhaps tied together with Google App Engine.  In the announcement Google referenced the Open Data Kit project which uses Google App Engine and the Fusion Tables API to instantly map locations of survey results gathered from GPS-enabled cell phones or survey software.

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