Data reporting within your comfort zone


Hearing about the Florida Center for Investigative Reporting’s use of free applications like Tableau Public sent me on the search for its competitors. It turns out young journalists may be able to create visualizations for their data stories in a familiar environment … Google.

Google Fusion Tables allows for the importing of data, which it automatically stores in Google Drive, or it allows you to browse its own collection of data made public by its users. The Fusion Tables portal looks much like an Excel worksheet, but it allows you to create interactive maps, data-heavy pop-up windows, and so forth. Perhaps the coolest part in today’s tech-savvy journalism world is that it allows for collaborative data gathering. Groups of people can work on gathering specific data while the information owner sees the big picture.

If you’re not convinced, visit the Fusion Tables example gallery to get an idea of how well known media sources, such as The Guardian, are using it. Once you’re ready to test the waters, you can get all sort of tutorials from Google itself.

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