Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Power BI Tips: Creating a Map Visualization in Power BI

Introduction

This blog explains how you can create a map visualization based report in Power BI desktop. Map visualization is one of the cool features that Power BI provides for doing analysis based on geographical locations. Its pretty useful tool when you want to show any data broken up by geographical locations.

Illustration

To illustrate this, we can consider the below scenario
Consider the case of a retail chain having stores across multiple locations. The consolidated sales figures has been captured as per the below


Now lets see how we can visualize this data using Power BI's map visualization. The cool thing about this is that we dont need to do anything special to make this happen. The map visualization is able to display the location by identifying it from our data. This is made possible by Bing map APIs which it uses under the hood. From the location details it will be able to plot locations.
Now launch the Power BI desktop and point to the above data which is contained in a Excel or a CSV file using Get Data option

Map Visualization

Once the data is ready we can add the map visualization to the Power BI page from the visualizations options


Once you add the visualization you will get below control on the page


Select the control and drag State field to Location and Sales field to Values and you will get the below

You will see that the Bing map control automatically plots the data points in the map based on the location based field (State in this case)
You can see the data by hovering over the respective points in the map as shown below


This will help you to analyse the Sales for the state from the map.
Now if you analyze the data carefully we can see that there are few states where we have details for multiple districts.

If you want to analyze the district wise share of the data then we can make a small tweak in the above map to achieve this. To make this possible drag the District field to Legend property and then map will modify as below


If you analyze this you can see that each point now turns into a pie chart kind of format showing the contribution part of each of district within the state, Hover over a part and it will show district and state information corresponding the the part along with the value for the measure Sales. This is a very helpful visualization for quick reference without even having a need to drilldown to analyze the next lower level details in a hierarchy (geography in this case).

Filled Map Visualization

Another type of map visualization available in Power BI is called filled map visualization. This will plot the data points by filling the corresponding locations in the map. The intensity of the color changes as per the plot value with larger values being displayed in darker colors.
Now lets see how a filled map will look for the same data


The visualization fills the locations (States) based on the value (Sales)

Conclusion

As you see from above example map visualization is a very good option which you can use to do a quick reference analysis of data based on geographical data. Another good thing about this is that this is available as a standard option within Power BI desktop tool is now free to download. Only if you need to deploy this to a server you would need to take a license.
Hope you enjoyed this article on map visualization in Power BI. So what are you waiting for? Download a free copy of Power BI desktop and starting trying out!