Google Fusion Tables Fail (But I’ll Keep Trying)

I’ve been trying to learn how to have my students mash up two data sets and map them through Google Fusion Tables. Every tutorial I click on to learn more about Google Fusion Tables tells me how easy this is.

Yeah, no.

OK, let me modify that a bit.  I can get a data set into Google Fusion easily.  On occasions, I’ve even gotten Fusion Tables to locate my data on a map.  But I’ve also run into myriad problems.  And sure, this is to be expected, given that I am such a novice in the world of data-driven journalism.  But Lord knows I’m trying. I subscribe to a number of data-driven journalism feeds, recently took the Knight Center Data-Driven Journalism: The Basics and am signed up for Doing Journalism with Data: First Steps, Skills and Tools.  I’ve viewed dozens of tutorials on YouTube and have experimented multiple times on Fusion.

So, what are the blocks I’ve encountered?

  • Getting two data sets to align in the “merge” option.
  • Once the files have merged, getting the data to show in a way that doesn’t replicate certain columns. (See photo.)
  • And what’s up with the map? (See photo #2.)
Exhibit #1: Problems with merged files

Exhibit #1: Problems with merged files

There’s so many small things that I don’t yet understand and I suspect it’s these small details that are causing me big problems. What I really need to do is to find someone with more expertise than I have with whom to work.

Exhibit #2: Failed attempt to properly map the data

Exhibit #2: Failed attempt to properly map the data

Any suggestions?