Fusion Table

A Fusion Table is used to create a database with a built in set of data visualization tools (interactive graphs, maps). You can create a Fusion Table by either uploading an Excel Spreadsheet or CSV, or by creating the database online in a blank Fusion Table. Fusion Tables can be filtered or sorted, you can add mathematical functions, and you can embed images and YouTube videos into the database. 

Fusion Tables have a funny sounding name because the tool was originally created to help merge spreadsheets and databases ("fuse" the tables), which is still a very useful feature. For our purposes, we can think of Fusion Tables as both a database program and when the data is geocoded, a mapping tool. You can access it through Google Drive but since it is still in the "experimental" stage of development you will need to add it to your Drive click here. It is free and does not require anything other than a Google Account and access to Google Drive online. The advantage of using a Fusion Table is that it has a number of tools that help you to work with your data (filter, sort, summarize, graph, merge tables, use mathematical functions, export to Excel and other Google Geotools) in addtition to creating a map - no other Google geotool allows you to manipulate your data table to this extent. 

You can export a KML file from a Fusion Table and import it into the other Google geotools, so this is a very good way to store a dataset for use in Maps Engine or MyMaps, which have better styling options. User data is stored in the cloud with sharing options to restrict access.

Below is the BIT dataset from Ute Mountain Ute Tribe abandoned buildings database (used with permission).

This is the Fusion Table used to generate the map of BIT data.

This heat map was generated from a Fusion Table of the ACRES data (colors indicate the number of facilities in different locations).