Power Map Preview – Exploring the NEW features!

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Power Map Preview – Exploring the NEW features!


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.

Power Map preview for Excel - new features

First of all, here are some useful links (including the download link for the refreshed bits):-

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

sample data

Now when I launched Power Map, this is what I saw

recognizes geo data and plots them

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.

works with different column names also

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:-

3D map - power map

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!)

Flat map - Power Map

This is REALLY cool! Open-mouthed smile

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

Region Visualization - Power Map

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)

new visualization type in Power Map - Region

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.

Power Map - Region charts work with Country/Region, State/Province, County, or Zip/Postal Code data

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.

change color for data series

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.

Power Map Tour exported as a video


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.


  1. blog says:

    Now all we need is the Sharepoint integration with Power Map (someday..!)

  2. Jinroh says:

    …or Power Map directly on tabular instance,simply like power view.

    • blog says:

      I used to blog about how instead of Power Map (GeoFlow at that time) should be combined with Power View so that we could see like a Power View 2.0 version (:

      glad to know that I'm not alone!

  3. BobF says:

    From playing with this tool today region visualization, has a long way to go before ready for use in the UK

  4. BobF says:

    Hi sorry did not see you reply till l came back to this page 🙁

    In short l want to demonstrate the same principal you have shown with the american states for regions in the UK. The various combinations l have tried do not work, for example United Kingdom, South West is not mapped. So far my goggling has not found any information or any suggestions.

    It might not be supported for any country other than USA, ok fair enough, could someone tell us this? Yes cities do work, however l want to level of granularity above this.

  5. Deepraj K. says:

    Are all maps hosted on Bing/Microsoft servers? Such would be a show stopper for any secure organizations with firewalls in place. I would hope that, down the road, they provide the ability to host locally on org servers

  6. BobF says:

    The map tiles that displayed in the back ground are yes downloaded from the Bing map service which is public. Apart from a possible issue with the port (maybe) it uses to download there should be no issue.

    The demonstration shown above can be run locally from an excel spreadsheet. it does not have to be hosted on a Power BI. The power map feature is part of Excel 2013 (check the edition to ensure you have the right one) or Office 365 again check the version you need.

    As to running these types of features on premise say via sharepoint. Keep asking M/soft, so far seen question asked three times. Same answer, its not on the roadmap, nor do they know if it is planned to be on the roadmap

  7. […] a simple Power Map visualization which shows the number of visitors by state. (Check out this link if you are new to Power Map or need more info on how to create this […]

  8. EP2 says:

    Hi Jason – I installed the Power Map Preview from the Microsoft website, and it shows in my Excel ribbon. However, when I try to use the map add-in I get an error message that says, “Cannot initialize DirectX. Confirm that your hardware supports DirectX 10 or later and that you have the latest video card driver installed.” I have checked both of those items, which seem to be in order. Does the Power Map Preview version still work in Excel 2013? I do not have Office 365, so I cannot use the regular version. Thank you for your help!

    • SQLJason says:

      Can you look at your graphic options? Try changing the graphics / power options to High performance and see if the problem still persists. I thought I heard someone resolve this issue by turning on/off Accelerate 3D Graphics option also.

      And yes, Power Map should work with Excel 2013

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