Google Labs [has] launched Fusion Tables, a powerful new online research and data organizing tool that makes it much easier to share and navigate the world’s digital science and technical archives. Fusion Tables, which was developed by Google engineers using sample research data about the global fresh water crisis provided by the Pacific Institute and Circle of Blue, is specifically designed to unlock a treasure trove of facts, trends, and scientific findings that until now have been sequestered in databases and spreadsheets not easily shared.
The new Google technology provides users a rare opportunity to share critical data, probe them, organize pertinent information and generate design elements — charts and graphs — that translate complex information into much more digestible trends. The intent is to enable online collaborators to study and understand in new dimensions the world’s complex problems — the fresh water crisis among them — discern the salient details and organize those scientifically confirmed facts. They can be used to tell stories, offer insights, and propose solutions that heretofore were largely the purview of scholars and scientific experts.
[...] Journalists from Circle of Blue wanted to understand the influence of per capita income and the availability of tap water on the incidence of child mortality worldwide from diarrhea. Circle of Blue merged Pacific Institute data in the Fusion Table Gallery with data sets from the Internet. Fusion Tables created a scatter plot that revealed a noticeable and predictable correlation of death by water-related illness, wealth and safe drinking water availability. As the gross domestic product per capita increased, the percentage of a country’s population connected to tap water increased, and child deaths related to diarrhea decreased.
Source: Aubrey Parker, Circle of Blue, 16 Jun 2009