Google announced this week that Fusion Tables now has its own API. Fusion Tables, still in Google Labs, allows you to upload data sets from spreadsheets or CSV files and visualize the data on maps, timeslines, and charts. In addition, the collaborative nature of Fusion Tables enables you to not only share data with other organizations, but also merge your data with other user datasets, embed comments, and allow collaborative editing of the data.
Now, obviously Google Docs has been around awhile so uploading your spreadsheet data to this type of application is nothing new, but the compelling thing about Fusion Tables is its integration with the Google Maps API and Google Visualization API. Visualizations are also real time as Fusion Tables automatically updates data as it is updated or corrected. With the Fusion Tables API you can also update or query the database programmatically. Data can also be imported from various data sources including text files and relational database management systems.
I think we’ll see a lot of good web mapping applications built with a combination of Fusion Tables, Google Maps, and Google Visualization perhaps tied together with Google App Engine. In the announcement Google referenced the Open Data Kit project which uses Google App Engine and the Fusion Tables API to instantly map locations of survey results gathered from GPS-enabled cell phones or survey software.