“Fusion Tables, which was developed by Google engineers using sample research data about the global fresh water crisis provided by the Pacific Institute and Circle of Blue, is specifically designed to unlock a treasure trove of facts, trends, and scientific findings that until now have been sequestered in databases and spreadsheets not easily shared.
“Users can also display their data through a variety of visualizations: as a timeline, a graph or a map. The “fusion” of the data sets can link dissimilar information from the far corners of the Web to reveal patterns and trends that might be impossible to spot otherwise. This makes Fusion Tables a central hub for data collaboration, as anyone can publish and access files, which were formerly locked away in Excel spreadsheets, PDF reports, and hard-cover textbooks.
“There is an enormous amount of water data out there, but data by itself doesn’t tell the story; data are only numbers,” said Peter Gleick, president of the Pacific Institute. “If we can find innovative ways to convert data into action, then data is important.”
“Fusion Tables created a scatter plot that revealed a noticeable and predictable correlation of death by water-related illness, wealth and safe drinking water availability. As the gross domestic product per capita increased, the percentage of a country’s population connected to tap water increased, and child deaths related to diarrhea decreased.
“As Circle of Blue does with front-line reporting of water issues, we hope to provide new ways of looking at problems, collecting vast amounts of information and making it widely relevant, visual and accessible,” Halevy said.”
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