Upload shapefiles to Google Fusion Tables

Google has a pretty cool labs project called Fusion Tables, which I think most people don’t know about.  One great feature is the ability to create a web map from georeferenced data quickly and easily.  Great news, it’s getting even easier.  From Steven Vance, news that you can now upload shapefiles (through a third-party site).

It is now possible to upload a shapefile (and its companion files SHX, PRJ, and DBF) to Google Fusion Tables (GFT).

Before we go any further, keep in mind that the application that does this will only process 100,000 rows. Additionally, GFT only gives each user 200 MB of storage (and they don’t tell you your current status, that I can see).

  1. Login to your Google account (at Gmail, or at GFT).
  2. Prepare your data. Ensure it has fewer than 100,000 rows.
  3. ZIP up your dataX.shp, dataX.shx, dataX.prj, and dataX.dbf. Use WinZip for Windows, or for Mac, right-click the selection of files and select “Compress 4 items”.
  4. Visit the Shape to Fusion website. You will have to authorize the web application to “grant access” to your GFT tables. It needs this access so that after the web application processes your data, it can insert it into GFT.
  5. If you want a Centroid Geometry column or a Simplified Geometry column added, click “Advanced Options” and check their checkboxes – see notes below for an explanation.
  6. Choose the file to upload and click Upload.
  7. Leave the window open until it says it has processed all of the rows. It will report “Processed Y rows and inserted Y rows”. You will be given a link to the GFT the web application created.
Here is a web map I made of Minneapolis bike count figures over time, the old fashioned way (geocoding by hand).  You could also get this to work before by exporting KML from ArcGIS an importing it into Fusion Tables, but that was clunky and had inconsistent results. Google should incorporate this quickly, if they want to keep up with what you can do with ArcGIS Online.

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