Woot! Microsoft just announced the pre-release availability of the refreshed builds for Power Map with some really cool new features and boy, I must say that I am PUMPED! For folks that know me, I have been doing quite a number of presentations on Power Map (and geospatial analytics in general) and there were a couple of features that I really really wished for in Power Map. Well, looks like the Power Map team heard my requests and I feel this release is a big step forward.
First of all, here are some useful links (including the download link for the refreshed bits):-
- Power BI Forum: Post and answer questions for the product team and community
- Power BI Product Page on Office.com: Download requirements, directs to Web Download page below
- Power Map Download Page: Download the bits on Microsoft Download Center
Now let’s see some of the new features that has come up since my last post on Power Map.
I) Recognizing geographic data and Plotting them on launching Power Map
On launching Power Map, the columns with geographic data are automatically recognized and plotted. For example, I had some data of the population of North Carolina by zip code as shown below
Now when I launched Power Map, this is what I saw
The best part is that the geographic columns seemed to be recognized correctly even if the they are named something other than City / State / Zip Code, etc. For eg, I renamed the City to CVDS and still was able to see it correctly mapped to City.
And anyways, you still have the option to change it from the drop down. All in all, great feature and saves me a couple of unnecessary clicks.
II) Support for Flat Map
I know, I know, all of you would be thinking – what’s so special about this? After all, what made Power Map unique was that it had the ability to do 3-D geospatial analysis. Well, that is pretty cool but there are certain times when only a flat map would do. For eg, when you are looking at a worldwide data like population by countries, you want to see both sides of the globe. Earlier in Power Map, it used to look like shown below:-
We could see only one half of the globe and had to rotate to see the other half. Now we have this icon to convert the 3D map to a flat map (and back to 3D if required!)
This is REALLY cool!
III) Support for Regions Visualization (Chloropeth Mapping)
Now this is the most awesome enhancement according to me – support for chloropeth mapping or shading a geographical area (and I had actually requested as a Connect suggestion during the beta release of GeoFlow). Let me show you how the visualization looks for the population data for North Carolina
Best part is that it is damn right simple – just change the visualization from Column to Region (and yes, that also means that we have a fourth visualization type now – apart from Column, Bubble and HeatMap)
The Region visualization is only present at a Country / Region, State / Province, County or Zip / Postal Code level (which means City is not available) and is available across all countries (not just the USA). If you try to use a geographical level which is not one of the above, you will receive the following error and the chart type will be changed to Column.
I LOVE this feature and more than that, adore the way how simple it is for users to geocode at that level (no need to bring in complex shapefiles to geocode county/zip code level data like in SSRS!). I can already see a lot of use for it.
IV) Change Color for Data Series
Now this is another simple but very useful new feature – the ability to change colors for data series. You can see this new option in the Layer options.
You can also see that the display options of the Themes button has changed and now the colors also show up.
V) Exporting Tours as Videos
A question that consistently makes the rounds when I present on Power Map is – “How do I “unlock” the tours from the Excel workbook? Is it possible to share it through any other medium?” Well, the answer has been No until now. The current build allows you to export your tours as a video and now this can be shared across all your channels. For creating videos, there is a new Create Video button on the ribbon and then you can select the video quality also.
To demonstrate the feature, I have exported a tour from one of my recent presentations. This tour is around 5 mins long and investigates the myth – Are Refugees flooding Industrialized countries? It took quite some time for me to export the tour as a video even in the 360p mode, but that is understandable I guess.
Overall, I feel this is a build with some really awesome features. Apart from the new features I described, there are also some UI changes but these changes are simple enough to understand, so I am not going over them. There are still some really basic functionalities that are desired like filtering your data and drilling down on the geographic levels (and I found out at least one bug which I will be filing on Connect soon), but we should not forget that this is not the final version. So I am happy and I would encourage everyone to try out the new build.