Create: a map (classic)

This 2-3 minute tutorial applies to classic Fusion Tables.
See the new version of this tutorial.

Google Fusion Tables is a online data management application, designed for easy collaboration, data visualization and web publishing. It allows you to upload and merge large datasets and offers simple data queries and filters. View the Example Gallery to see how tables can tell stories. 

This tutorial shows you how to upload data to generate a map with placemarks in Fusion Tables. It also steps you through customizing the markers' info window layout.

Tutorial Contents:


For this tutorial, a sample dataset is provided that contains records of insects collected in Costa Rica by ecologists. Each location is recorded with a latitude and longitude point.

Import the sample dataset

  1. Download this sample insect dataset.
  2. Go to Google Docs. You need to be logged into your Google Account. Note that you can't use a Google Apps accounts for Fusion Tables. You'll have to use a non-Apps Google account instead. (Create a Google Account if you don't already have one.)
  3. Click the Create button.
  4. Choose Create > More > Fusion Table from the dropdown menu.
  5. In the Import new table dialog box, click Choose File.
  6. Select the "Astraptes fulgerator complex sample data.csv" file you downloaded, and press Next.
  7. Check that the data is formatted correctly and click Next.
  8. Give your table a name and click Finish.
  9. Select Help > Back to Classic look.

Your newly uploaded data now appears in a new Fusion Table with thumbnails in the two columns of URL links to images:

Map the data

Fusion Tables auto-detects location data in a table so when you choose Visualize > Map, you immediately view the data on a map.

  1. Choose Visualize > Map.


  2. The map appears, with several small red placemarkers scattered across the countryside.
  3. Click a placemarker to view the information available for that row. The default info window template appears.

That's it!   You've mapped a spreadsheet of data.

Customize the info window template [Optional]

The default info window template automatically uses the first ten columns for this table, but you can customize which data appears and how it is displayed:

  1. While looking at the map visualization, click the Configure Info Window link at the top edge of the map.
  2. You can experiment by checking column check boxes to add or remove information from the Automatic info window template.
  3. If you want to customize the overall style and content of the info window template, click the "Custom" tab. The HTML for the default (automatic) columns set is displayed.

    custom template

  4. To see how you can change the output format, copy and paste the code below into the text box. Note that you indicate a column by using its name inside curly brackets. For example, to insert the species name in the balloon, put {herbivore species} into the template code.
    <div class="googft-info-window"
         style="font-family: sans-serif; width: 330px; height: 20em; overflow-y: auto;">
      <img src="{URL cp lateral}" 
           style="width: 150px; vertical-align: top; margin-right: .5em" />
      <img src="{URL adult}" 
           style="width: 150px; vertical-align: top" />
      <h2 style="color: brown">{herbivore species}</h2> 
      <p>Caterpillar found feeding on host plant
          <em>{host plant species}</em>,
          {host plant family} in the {primary eco},{year}.</p>
      <p>See specimen record {voucher} at
          <a href="http://janzen.sas.upenn.edu/">
          Caterpillars, pupae, butterflies and moths of the A.C.G.
          </a>
    </p>
    </div>
  5. Click Save.

Now click on a placemarker in the map view and see your stylized info windows. If you compare this with the earlier version, you can see that this template is much easier to read.

Now you've uploaded a data file, mapped it, and customized the way each placemarker's information is displayed. Good job!

Discussion & feedback

Have questions about this tutorial? Want to give us some feedback? Visit the Google Fusion Tables user group to discuss it with others.