Tools for Transparency: Google Fusion Tables


Google Fusion TablesJust look at any one of Sunlight’s projects and you’ll realize that it takes a mountain of data to help keep government open and transparent.  From district information to campaign expenditures to lobbying dollars, making sense of large data sets is an intensive, concerted effort.

Many of your own projects use dozens of spreadsheets, take up thousands of rows of data and live somewhere on our laptop, accessible only to you.  This works to a point, but in an era of sharing, collaborating and web-based storage, it isn’t an optimal solution.

Google Fusion Tables is an experimental project from Google Labs with the goal of making sharing and collaborating on large sets of data much simpler.  Fusion Tables isn’t focused on the traditional database system that requires “complicated SQL queries and transaction processing,” but is rather focused on “fusing data management and collaboration: merging multiple data sources, discussion of the data, querying, visualization, and web publishing.”

Google Fusion Tables allows you handle large amounts of data: you can upload files of up to 100 MB in formats like Excel, CSV and KML. You can also programmatically update, delete, query and visualize data using their API. Plus, you can merge your own data with existing public sets, allowing you to add further value and context to your own information.

While Fusion Tables is an experimental Google project, it shows great potential in allowing the less technically savvy to easily leverage large data sets while communicating and collaborating much more effortlessly.

For more information, check out the video and related links below –