Using Advanced Mapping in ArcGIS Preview

ArcGIS Mapping
ArcGIS Mapping

In the September 2016 release of PowerBI, Microsoft introduced a new visual called the ArcGIS Maps preview.  For more information on the maps integration you can read the following post from Microsoft.  This tutorial will review how to load data using Latitude and Longitude data and map those points on the ArcGIS map.

First, we need to open PowerBI Desktop and then we will load some data.  The version of PowerBI Desktop for this tutorial is 2.39.4526.362 64-bit (September, 2016).  You can download the latest version of the software here.

On the Home ribbon click on the Get Data button and from the Get Data window select Blank Query.  Click Connect to proceed.

Now you will be in the Query Editor, click on the View ribbon and select the Advanced Editor button.  The Advanced Editor will now open.

Enter the following code into the Advanced Editor: (you can copy and paste the code directly from this site)  Click Done to load the data.

let
 Source = Excel.Workbook(Web.Contents("http://powerbi.tips/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/Locations.xlsx"), null, true),
 Locations_Table = Source{[Item="Locations",Kind="Table"]}[Data],
 #"Changed Type" = Table.TransformColumnTypes(Locations_Table,{{"Event", type text}, {"Attenders", Int64.Type}, {"Zip", Int64.Type}, {"Latitude", type number}, {"Longitude", type number}})
in
 #"Changed Type"

Note: this will load an excel file that is hosted on PowerBI.Tips, so make sure you have an internet connection.

Load Map Data
Load Query

Re-name your query to Map Data and then on the Home ribbon click Close & Apply.

Load Map Data In PBI
Load Map Data In PBI

Before working on this tutorial, you will want to make sure you have enabled the ArcGIS map which is in preview.

Click the Menu button to open up the menu options.

PBI Menu Button
PBI Menu Button

This will expose the menu.  With the menu open click on Options and Settings and then click on Options.

Selecting Options
Selecting Options

Once the Options menu is open, click on Preview Features and then make sure the ArcGIS Maps for PowerBI preview feature is check.  Then click OK to close the options menu.

Options Menu
Options Menu

You should now see a new bright blue icon listed in the Visualizations window.

ArcGIS Maps Icon
ArcGIS Maps Icon

Click on the ArcGIS visualization and then add the following following columns of data from the Fields window into the visual.

Fields for ArcGIS Map
Fields for ArcGIS Map

OK, Wow, seems like a normal map.  So, why all the hype?  Well, unlike other mapping visualizations, this map enhances the selection methods for points on a map.

By clicking on the square with the black mouse arrow (highlighted with a green box here because the selection tool for the visual uses a red box)  You can then click drag a red box across the map to select multiple geographical points on the map.

Highlighting Points on Map
Highlighting Points on Map

Selecting points on the map will filter other visuals on the page.

Add a Table visual with the following fields:

Table Visual Fields
Table Visual Fields

Now click the Multi-Select button and highlight some points on the map.

Multi-Select Button
Multi-Select Button

Notice how only the selected points are highlighted on the map and the table filters to only those points.

To enhance the map further click the In-Focus Edit Mode button.

In-Focus Edit Mode
In-Focus Edit Mode

Now, the map editor opens.  This allows you to change the basemap view, the theme of the map, symbols on the map and adds other data to enhance the coloring of the map.

Click on the Basemap button and then select the Dark Gray Canvas.  We have turned the map in to a sort of night mode.

Basemap Change
Basemap Change

Have fun here and explore a couple of the other map types.

Next Click on the Map Theme then click on the Heat Map.  Alright, this is getting pretty cool.

Heat Map Selection
Heat Map Selection

In the next section Symbol Style you can change the properties of the points on the map.  For the heat map you can change the Transparency and the Area of Influence of the points.  Each map theme, Location, Heat Map, Size, and Clustering have different Symbol Style properties.  So you might want to select a couple different Map Themes and try adjusting the Symbol Styles to see how they change.

Now finally, the best part of the ArcGIS mapping, the Reference Layer.  This will blow your mind!

Click the Reference layer button then select a layer to add from the Demographics tab.  For this example, I chose the USA Average Household Income.

Household Income Layer
Household Income Layer

To return to the Report click the Back to Report button in the upper left hand corner of the page view.

Back to Report
Back to Report

The layer feature is by far the most helpful part of this tool.  Imagine the time required to collect all that regional demographics data, model it and then to apply it to the mapping visual.  The ArcGIS mapping tool is quite impressive.

One other note before we leave.  Now that you are back on the report level view.  Use your mouse scrolling wheel and zoom in and out on the map visual.  Notice the closer you zoom into the data points the more detailed the regional views become. See comparison below:

Zoomed Views
Zoomed Views

Thanks for following along.  Remember to share if you liked this tutorial.  See you next week.

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17 Comments

  1. This is a great enhancement to PowerBI. How do you get a legend to display for the demographic data from ESRI?

    • That is a great question. I spend about 30 minutes looking for this demographic legend, which I was sure had to be there. I could not find it any where in the visual. However, I did submit a question directly to Esri about he custom visual. You can do the same by submitting a question in their General Inquiries on their website. Here is the link to the contact us page.

      • I had the same question about displaying (rather lack of displaying) the demographic data legends. Just curious if there has been any updates on this crucial issue? Thanks!

        • I have submitted a request directly to esri about this specific question. I have not received any details back about why there are no legends for demographic data.

          • Hi Mike, Have you received a reply yet? Over 2 weeks of no answers is pretty sad for such a simple question…

          • Andrew, I would agree with you. I have not had any response from ESRI not sure why there is no support.

  2. HEllo Thank you for great post. I just want to make sure- This feature is working in POWER BI DESKTOP but not on wensite, whne i publish my model the map is not visible

    • Anna, Good catch. I have done the exploration with the ArcGIS mapping in the desktop but I didn’t publish the pbix to the service. I am also having the same issue publishing the ArcGIS map that you are seeing. Not, 100% sure why we are seeing this issue, but i have a suspicion that it might be the fact that this feature is still in preview mode and may not be fully released to the PowerBI service yet. I have asked a question about this issue directly to esri. You can also submit a question to them about this issue, here is the link.

  3. Great post… can custom layers be created? I would like to add a construction general arrangement drawing w/ custom areas identified.

    • Thanks for the question. I am not aware of any custom layers than can be added. I believe only the data layers exposed in the visual can be used.

  4. Great tool – unfortunately the map does not build when I try your tutorial. What can be the reason for that?
    Thanks for every help!

    • I would double check the geographical information your sending into the ArcGIS tool. As will almost all of the mapping tools it is important to get the geographical information correct. Try mapping with data formatted like “City, State” or use full state names instead of using abbreviations. By far the best most accurate method is to use latitude and longitude for points data, but I understand this is not always available and does not help when your trying to graph data for an entire state or region such as the State of Wisconsin.

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