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March 03
The Power of Power Map

I just recently learned all about the POWER of Power Map.  Power Map is a Business Intelligence add-on in Excel 2013 that allows you to explore and navigate geospatial data on a 3D map experience. And, all you need to get started is Microsoft Office Professional Plus 2013 or Office 365 ProPlus.

After I took a little time to research this new technology (and examine the results of this awesome contest) I was sold!!  With Power Map, you can plot geographic and temporal data, show it over time and create visual tours. Analyzing data couldn't be easier!  Here are just a few of the possibilities :

  • Universities could plot a three dimensional globe with the “home” location of all of their students

  • Cities could plot crime locations in a bar chart, across a map showing numbers by crime type

  • Commercial companies could plot distribution of products by heat map across the world

  • Health fields could plot disease types over a map and include a top 100 chart to quickly identify heavy populated areas

Often times however, the story just isn’t that “flat" (more about Power BI and storytelling in the link below).  To get the big picture, you'll need to see the data change over time.  Power Map allows you to create “tours” which do just that.  Tours are a collection of scenes that can be defined and then played sequentially.   You can create as many tours as you wish in a workbook.  For example, let's say you want to show the data for automobile accidents resulting in death, grouped by age.  You can illustrate this scene by splitting the data into five-year increments over the past 40 years by plotting fatal car accidents grouped by age and then putting them into a tour to see the change over time.  Now that’s an effective way to view data!

After reading all about Power Map I had to play around with it myself.  I found a dataset of Food Inspections by City which included 38532 records.  It didn't take long  to look at the data, set up Power Map, assemble the map and finally create a few tours.



Some additional attractive enhancements include:

  • Map themes which contain generic road maps as well as a few high fidelity satellite images. You can experiment with different themes to achieve specific effects in your visualizations

  • Legends are available for all chart types to identify the different data represented on the map

  • Ability to show positive, negative, null and zero values using “hollow” images as seen here:



  • Many other cosmetic enhancements can also be made such as: shape changes, height and thickness scale, colors, labels and text boxes

The best part is, all of the powerful features of Power Map are included in O365 without any additional costs or licensing fees! 

More on Power Map's extraordinary storytelling capabilities here: 

http://blogs.msdn.com/b/powerbi/archive/2014/02/24/once-upon-a-time-telling-your-story-with-tours-in-power-map.aspx​​

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