One of the new options that you have in Excel 2013 and Power View is to show data on maps. This is a feature that is awaited for, most data in the BI world contains some sort of geographical information.

 

This could be sales territories, customer locations or production plants, etc.

When I first tested this I thought that you would need to have geographical objects stored in your user database much like the technique I used in one of my previous posts. However this is much simpler, the only thing that you need is a geographical name like a region name, a postal code or even a street name.

 

This data gets sent to Bing and Power View uses the field that you put in the locations box to geo code the data.

power view map control

This can in certain cases be hard to do you really need to ensure that your field is uniquely identified. There are places that have the same name across the globe. You also need to ensure that if you use street names that Bing can successfully find then e.g. they have the correct postal code.

Bing maps is quite good on finding out locations of different addresses.

I tried with a very small sample that you can see below:

places

 

The first row is a full address, as suspected Bing had no trouble finding that address. In the second case I have not specified the zip code or the country but Bing had no problem finding that at all. The third one also misses the zip code and the country and again Bing had no trouble. If I removed Stockholm from the third case and just added the country then Bing was unable to find the address.

If Bing cannot find the location of the address then nothing is shown on the map.

You can also get nice zoom able maps in Power View. Power View have the capability of understanding hierarchies in the new version. This is something that power users have asked for and now it is here. I was happy to see that it worked in maps as well.

I created the following small sample table

places2

 

Then in PowerPivot I created a hierarchy that goes from country down to region and then down to plats.

hierarchy

If I add this to a Power View report the map report will look like this:

firstview

As you can see I only have one marker on top of Sweden showing me the country level. If I double click on the marker then I will zoom in to the next level showing me the regions that I have in my hierarchy.

secondview

 

There are a lot of other visualizations and things that you can do with the mapping components in Power View. You have a lot of possibilities with vertical and horizontal multiples as well as color. There are however some things that does not work. You can not use KPI statuses on maps and you can not show regions the way that you can do in Reporting Services. However this is much simpler and easier to work with and more people will be able to use it.