Google Maps and Fusion Tables: A London Trip Report

Monday, January 31, 2011 | 8:38 AM

Mountain View based Google Developer Advocate Mano Marks has just completed a ten day trip, where he spoke at various events about the Google Maps API and Fusion Tables in London. Mano put together the following roundup of his visit.

I spent the weekend of January 22nd and 23rd at History Hack Day, which Google sponsored. I’m in a one-step program for recovering historians: I have to do something new every day. History Hack Day felt like cheating, doing history and doing something new, but oh well. There were great projects done at history hack day, too many to name all here, but some highlights were a Facebook game to see who could visit the most plaques, a app that would alert you when you were nearby a location that needs a picture in Wikipedia, and a timeline Google map showing the opening of train stations in the UK. I presented an introduction to Fusion Tables and a number of projects used it. I estimate we had about 70 people there, and most of the time was spent coding. Check out some of the projects. Matt Patterson organized it, and he should be encouraged to - and assisted in - organizing more.

On Monday night, I presented on Google Fusion Tables to the Geospatial Specialist Group of BCS. Another great crowd, a mixture of GIS professionals and people just interested in web mapping. I presented a more complete presentation on Fusion Tables. I appreciate the opportunity to present there, thanks to BCS for organizing it.

On Thursday the 27th, I met with most of the researchers at the Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis at UCL. They are doing awesome work there, such as MapTube and SurveyMapper. Check out their site for more details. I happen to follow the Digital Urban blog, which is how I got in touch with them. They have a couple of positions available as lecturers if anyone is interested.

Finally, on Saturday the 29th, the local GTUG hosted a Google Maps API and Fusion Tables codejam at the TechHub. Keir Clarke of Google Maps Mania and I each gave a quick presentation and then for a few hours the 20 participants created maps apps using Fusion Tables. Almost everyone demonstrated their projects at the end of the day, which was an amazing experience. Usually at these kind of events only a few people post. We awarded a winner at the end, to Chris Alexander, who loaded a feed from Datasift into Fusion Tables using the Fusion Tables API and the loaded it on a map.

Thanks to London and the developer community here, it was a great trip and I hope to come back soon.