This is a guest blog post. Originally posted on DataVizualization.com.

Ever wanted to quickly visually share some data with your colleagues or with the world and struggled with the tools available? After sharing the data, what if the viewer wanted to zoom in on a specific location, city or town to see what's going on there.

Google Fusion Tables is a free tool to show your data on a map & allow viewers to zoom in specific areas that they want to explore further. vHomeInsurance, a data driven home insurance analysis service, has detailed location data on home insurance rates & has used their data to create a guide to use Google Fusion tables to represent home insurance rates visually on a map.

1. Google Fusion Table Home Page

To start using Google Fusion tables, one must have a Google Account. After you have created a Google account or if you have already one, go to: https://www.google.com/fusiontables/  & click on the Create a Fusion Table link to begin.

2. Get your data into Google Fusion Tables

We have three choices to import data to Google Fusion table 1) Upload a File 2) Import from Google Spreadsheets 3) Update Data from an Empty Table

For this guide, we choose the Google Spreadsheet option. Choose the Google spreadsheet you want to import data from and click Next. You can choose the other options as well and click next.

 After the data is loaded into Google Fusion tables, make sure to check for column names and other details before importing.

3. Naming your table & data

Once the data is imported, make sure to give the appropriate table names, your licensing attribution & other details.

4. Map the “Location” field to the appropriate column

This is where the rubber hits the road where Google Geocodes your data to know which places is where.

For Instance, if you have data on Brooklyn Homeowner Insurance rates & want to Google Maps to show it in the appropriate location, then Google Fusion tables needs to figure out the Geo-coordinates for that data. To tell Google Fusion table, which data type to geocode, we need to change the appropriate column name to “Location” type. This can be done through the following steps:

  1. Hover over the column name that has the location data and click on the downward pointing arrow
  2. Click on Change
  3. On the page that comes, Choose “Location” for the type & then hit Save

5. Show the Geocoded data on a Map

Now, we need to actually show the data on a map. To do that, click on “Add Map”. The actual Geocoding & representation may take time & depends on the number of rows in your tables.


6. Configure Your Map Markers

The default representation of a place on the map are red circles but to we need to customize it make it more meaningful. As an example, in the home insurance world, home insurance in Chicago is $888 so we have a Yellow marker for it whereas home insurance in Phoenix is cheaper at $596 and we represent that as a green marker. In the configure map section, click on Change feature styles and then configure various buckets and associated color markets for the different values.

You can see a screenshot of the finished map below.

A detailed map is available to zoom in for various home insurance rates on vHomeInsurance.

About the Author:

The vHomeInsurance team are experts in home insurance rates data analysis & research.

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