Mapping Data in Power BI - The Sequel - Capax Global

Mapping Data in Power BI - The Sequel

Part 2

The Problem Statement

When working with customers they often have a need to map their data but they are often confused by the various options available in Power BI. In this second of a two-part post, I will continue to explore the various mapping options available. Part one explored the Map, Fill Map, and Shape Map. This post will look at the ArcGis Map.

The ArcGis Map

The ArcGis Map for Power BI is an add-in provided by ESRI, a leader in the ArcGis mapping field. Currently this map is in preview mode and you need to enable it in Power BI Desktop (see figure 1).

 

Figure 1 - Enabling the ArcGis Map.png
 

Figure 1 – Enabling the ArcGis Map.

The ArcGis Map provides some more advanced features not available in the other maps such as heat maps, clustering, and base map layers. Once you drag the map on the report canvas you add the data to the map in the field wells just as you would for the standard maps (see figure 2).

 

Figure 2 - Adding fields to the ArcGis Map.png

 

Figure 2 – Adding fields to the ArcGis Map.

You can add location boundaries, such as zip codes, addresses, or latitude-longitude values. For the measures, you can add them to the size and color fields. You can also add a date/time field to get a play axis to see how the data changes over time. Figure 3 shows a basic map depicting a hurricane track and wind strength over time.

 

Figure 3 - An ArcGis Map showing hurricane data.png

 

Figure 3 – An ArcGis Map showing hurricane data.

To get to the advanced settings and formatting features of the ArcGis Map click the ellipses in the upper right corner and select Edit (see figure 4).

 

Figure 4 - Launching the Edit mode.png

 

Figure 4 – Launching the Edit mode.

Once in edit mode, you can change features such as the base map, theme, and symbol style. You can also add reference pins, a reference layer, and infographics data (see figure 5).

 

Figure 5 - Editing the features of the ArcGis Map.png

 

Figure 5 – Editing the features of the ArcGis Map.

Although I am not going to cover all the features of the ArcGis Map, I do want to point out how you can create clustering and heat maps high density data.

Clustering is useful when you have a lot of locations on the map. You can turn on clustering under the Map theme tab (see figure 6).

 

Figure 6 - Enabling clustering.png

 

Figure 6 – Enabling clustering.

Once clustering is turned on locations will be clustered together with nearby locations. As you drill into the map the clusters will adjust to show smaller clusters and more detail (see figure 7).

 

Figure 7 - Clustered points on a map.png

 

Figure 7 – Clustered points on a map.

You can control the cluster radius under the Symbol style tab (see figure 8).

 

Figure 8 - Setting the cluster radius.png

 

Figure 8 – Setting the cluster radius.

Another useful type of map used to analyze high density data is the Heat Map. Using Heat Maps is a good way to visualize data and patterns by assigning colors to values rather than simply looking at the data values themselves.

You can change the map to a heat map on the Map theme tab (see figure 9). You can also control the opacity and colors of the heat map on the Symbol style tab.

 

Figure 9 - Creating a heat map.png

 

Figure 9 – Creating a heat map.

Another very powerful feature of the ArcGis Map is the ability of adding a reference layer to the map. Reference layers provide additional information about the area around your data. For example, you can include data, such as income, age, or population density. To add a reference layer to the map select Reference layer tab (see figure 10).

 

Figure 10 - Adding a reference layer.png

 

Figure 10 – Adding a reference layer.

You can also include publicly shared feature layers available on ArcGIS Online that provide more information about areas surrounding the locations on your map, such as school locations, streams, or fault lines. Figure 11 shows gas wells on a map with a reference layer showing streams.

 

Figure 11 - Using a reference layer to show streams close to gas wells.png

 

Figure 11 – Using a reference layer to show streams close to gas wells.

Another neat new feature of the ArcGis Map is the ability to add infographic cards. Figure 10 shows two infographics cards showing the total population and number of households in the current view. To add the infographics, select the Infographics tab (see figure 12).

 

Figure 12 - Adding infographics to the map.png

 

Figure 12 – Adding infographics to the map.

Summary

As you have seen the ArcGis Map for Power BI is a very powerful visual for map based analytics. It goes beyond the basic maps and allows you to easily create heat maps and clustering. It also allows you to add a reference layer to give even more context to your data analysis. Although it is still in preview, in my opinion, it is mature enough to start using in your production reports and dashboards. Hopefully, after reading the last two posts on mapping in Power BI, you now have a better grasp of the mapping capabilities in Power BI. Another visual you may want to investigate is the Synoptic Panel (http://okviz.com/synoptic-panel/). Using the Synoptic Panel, you can easily create custom maps and visualize your data spatially in relation to things such as parking lots, floor plans, and seating charts. Look for a future blog covering the Synoptic Panel.