Google Tools Ecosystem

  Maps and geotools:


Fusion Tables

Google Maps

Manage your My Maps in Google Drive

Map Maker (not currently enabled for South Africa)

Earth Engine (you must sign up to be a Trusted Tester to access data catalog and conduct analyses)
Support and Gallery of Projects

Timelapse (run on the Earth Engine Platform)
Timelapse Tour Editor (build your own visualization)


Picasa Web Albums (use the online program, don't download Picasa to manage photos on your computer)


 Documents, Slides, Spreadsheets, Database:

Google Drive (in addition to Google Docs and Microsoft Office files you can store many other types of files such as My Maps, PDF and KML in Drive folders)

 Websites for disseminating results:


 Discussion Forum for coordinating project:

Google Groups


Below is a screenshot of a Google Site used to disseminate data on the environmental survey of the Kansas River that we have been conducting for the past several years. The intended audience includes government agencies, NGOs and concerned public. On the home page is a My Maps (live, interactive on the Google Site) and an embedded Fusion Table. The Fusion Table contains almost 1500 rows of data with photos and GPS coordinates. You can see the Google Site at

This is an example of a workflow incorporating multiple Google Tools:

1) Database: KoBo Toolbox for field data collection, CSV downloaded and imported to Google Spreadsheet, data added (additional points, fill in county names, etc.) using observations made with Google Earth Pro and autofill in Google Spreadsheets. Data exported from Google Spreadsheets to Fusion Table. Data table embedded as a live Fusion Table into a Google Site. Photos were uploaded to Picasaweb, and can be downloaded as a KML file or embedded in the Fusion Table (this step can be automated using ODK Aggregate).

2) Map: Data from the Fusion Table was mapped in Fusion Tables, filtered and styled to remove information not needed in the map icon pop-ups. It was then exported as a CSV file and imported into My Maps. My Maps was used for final styling. Additional layers were added to My Map as KML from Google Earth Pro (you can have both GPS coordinates as Lat/Long and KML files in different layers in a My Maps). The My Maps was embedded live into a Google Site.

This may sound complicated, but the entire process from the end of data collection and editing to the development of a styled map embedded in a website took very little time. There are other workflows that you can develop to do projects like this, but the important point is that using a suite of Google Tools and compatible platforms like KoBo Toolbox and ODK allow you to efficiently collect, aggregate, analyze and disseminate your data and drastically reduce the amount of time and effort required.