February 26, 2011

More Cache Location Visualization Tools

There are plenty of ways to map and view the locations of geocaches, including the mapping tools available on geocaching.com, the software that comes with your GPSr, Google Earth, and other online tools. But lately I've been playing around with a data table mapping and visualization tool from Google called Fusion Tables. The application lets you upload data tables from spreadsheets, CSV files or KML files. Then you can easily visualize your data in graphs, charts and even maps (provided your data includes location information, such as lat/long coordinates). It's all done online, and you can even post the results on your website. All you need is a Google account. Here are some great examples.

Unfortunately, you cannot upload GPX files directly into Fusion Tables, but you can easily convert your GPX formatted files (pocket queries) to KML format using Google Earth, GSAK macros, or many other online tools. In the example below, I ran a pocket query for new caches (less than one week old) in my part of the world. I then took the GPX file from the downloaded pocket query, opened it in Google Earth, then saved it as a KML file, called "New.kml", which I then imported directly into Fusion Tables:

All the data from the pocket query file is retained, including the geometry (lat/long coordinates), which the application recognizes and uses to generate a map. You can then edit the map to your liking. Here I've color-coded the points based on the cache difficulty rating. I then copied the embeddable link and inserted it below:

Lots of potential here. If you use Fusion Tables for caching purposes, I'd love to hear about it.

Cache On!

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