Saturday, April 14, 2012

[Gd] Crowd Sourcing with Google Forms and Fusion Tables

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Google Apps Developer Blog: Crowd Sourcing with Google Forms and Fusion Tables

Crowd sourcing has been growing substantially in popularity. More and more businesses and individuals are interested in gathering data from the general public for real-time data analysis and visualization. The concept is being adopted in several fields, including journalism, public health and safety, and business development. During this election year, for example, a journalist might be interested in learning what candidate his or her readers support, and the reasons why they support this candidate.

Google Forms, Fusion Tables, and Apps Script make both data collection and analysis super simple! Using Google Forms, a journalist can quickly create an HTML form for readers to submit their opinions and feedback. Fusion Tables make data analysis easy with several cool data visualization options. Apps Script acts as the glue between Google Forms and Fusion Tables, enabling the Form to send data directly to Fusion Tables.

Let’s take a look at how our journalist friend would use all these tools to collect her reader’s candidate preferences.

Google Forms

Google Forms provides a simple UI tool to develop forms perfect for collecting data from readers. Here’s an example of a simple form the journalist can create to get information from her readers:

Once the form has been created, it can be embedded directly into the journalist’s website or blog using the embeddable HTML code provided by Google Forms.

Google Fusion Tables

Google Fusion Tables makes data analysis simple with its visualization capabilities. Using Fusion Tables, the journalist can create maps and charts of the collected data with just a few clicks of the mouse!

Using some fake data as an example, here’s a pie chart that can be created using Fusion Tables to show the the results of the survey:

With Fusion Tables, it’s also easy to filter data and create a pie chart visualization showing why people like Mitt Romney:

These visualizations can also be embedded in the journalist’s website or blog, as Fusion Tables provides embeddable HTML code for all its visualizations. Now, any time someone visits the webpage with the embedded visualization, they will see the current poll result!

Apps Script

Finally, Apps Script acts as the glue between the Google Form and the Fusion Table, since there is currently no direct way to send Google Form submissions to a Fusion Table. During a hack event last year, I took some time to write an Apps Script script that submits the form data to Fusion Tables. The script uses the onFormSubmit Apps Script functionality as described in this blog post. The Fusion Tables code is based on the code described in this blog post.

To learn how to set up your own Google Form to collect data and save that data in a Fusion Table, please see these instructions.

Kathryn Hurley profile

Kathryn is a Developer Programs Engineer for Fusion Tables at Google. In this role, she helps spread the word about Fusion Tables by presenting at conferences and developer events. Kathryn received an MS in Web Science from the University of San Francisco. Prior work experience includes database management, web production, and research in mobile and peer-to-peer computing.


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