Fusion Tables, Google's tool for joining and visualizing multiple data tables, has finally added auto-generated legends to its mapping features.
The feature had been long sought by users (like me) who didn't want to code manual workarounds for quick one-off projects (those doing more elaborate work with the tool will likely continue customizing the legend and other look-and-feel options). Until now, you could color points or polygons based on specific data characteristics but not generate a legend within the tool; any color keys needed to be created separately.
A Google staffer announced the feature upgrade in a post on the Fusion Tables Issue Tracker site after more than 200 people had requested the feature. To put that in perspective, only two of the more than 400 still-open issues on the site have more than 200 backers.
User response to the news was positive on the site. "Fantastic," wrote one. "It's working great for me."
However, MaryJo Webster at the Pioneer Press noted that "These automatic legends ONLY work if you use the 'bucket' map style. In other words, you need to be mapping something that has a range of values."
That's fine with me, since I often use buckets with Fusion Tables, such as the map below. Want to know more about Fusion Tables? See my slideshow, How to make a map in Google Fusion Tables (done before a couple of updates in Fusion Tables. I hope to update it soon.)
Click on a state for additional information: