Sunday, March 31, 2013

Automatic legends on Google Fusion Table maps

I'm not sure if it was added recently or if it has always been there, but one if my students stumbled across an automatic map legend for Google Fusion Tables. It's been a long-time frustration that I couldn't add a legend to explain the color variations in my maps, one quickly discovered and lamented by my students.

You can find the Automatic legend under Change Map Styles
Then the other day as I was grading projects for my data visualization journalism class, there was -- VIOLA -- a legend on a FT map! I exclaimed joy. I jumped up and down. I BEGGED to know how she did it!

It was an accident, but a damn fine one.

So where is it? When you are in Change Map Styles, under where you change the styles for your points and polygons. It's labeled "Legend," and there are options to set the title and where it displays on the map.

You can see an example of it's use in my Statesman map showing geographic mobility in the Austin MSA.

I wish there was more flexibility, of course. I'd like to be able to add a "%" sign after my values in the above map, for instance. I guess I could reconfigure the data and make the column a percentage. I'll have to think about that going forward.

The legend will pull in your polygon fill colors and values.


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