Chris Essig

Walkthroughs, tips and tricks from a data journalist in eastern Iowa

Archive for December 2011

Map mouseover test

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A couple of weeks ago I saw some tweets on a new feature that would allow Google Fusion Table map makers to customize their maps based on mouse overs (Here’s some background and the  ‘workable’ solution that was released earlier this month). This was exciting news. In the past, people who were looking at a map would typically have to click on a point or a polygon or whatever to open up new data about that point, polygon, etc.  Now, the mouseover effect would allow new data to pop up if a reader hovers over a point, polygon, etc. with their mouse.

It sounds great so I tried it out over the weekend with this map on poverty rates in Iowa. The map is broken into Census tracts and when a reader hovers over a polygon, poverty data about that particular tract pops up. I also set it so the polygon changes colors on a mouse rollover.

It didn’t turn out too bad. But I feel the polygon color changes take a while to load and frankly doesn’t feel that slick. There are plenty of other options for messing with polygons (I’ve heard the Raphael Javascript library works great and Albert Sun with the NY Times has a great library for polygon effects) but nothing I’ve seen is as simple and as quick to turn around as this workable solution… Overall, there seems to be a ton of promise here, especially for us in the news business who are trying to turn around maps on deadline.

Anyways, anybody who wants to build off this map should check out the code. And I’d love to hear any suggestions on how to improve on it.

Written by csessig

December 14, 2011 at 4:33 pm