Getting started with the Azure Maps Power BI visual

APPLIES TO: Green check mark. Power BI service for consumers Green check mark. Power BI service for designers & developers Green check mark. Power BI Desktop X indicating no. Requires Pro or Premium license

This article shows how to use the Microsoft Azure Maps visual for Power BI.

Note

This visual can be created and viewed in both Power BI Desktop and the Power BI service. The steps and illustrations in this article are from Power BI Desktop.

The Azure Maps visual for Power BI provides a rich set of data visualizations for spatial data on top of a map. It is estimated that over 80% of business data has a location context. The Azure Maps visual can be used to gain insights into how this location context relates to and influences your business data.

Power BI desktop with the Azure Maps visual displaying business data

What is sent to Azure?

The Azure Maps visual connects to cloud service hosted in Azure to retrieve location data such as map images and coordinates that are used to create the map visualization.

  • Details about the area the map is focused on are sent to Azure to retrieve images needed to render the map canvas (also known as map tiles).
  • Data in the Location, Latitude, and Longitude buckets may be sent to Azure to retrieve map coordinates (a process called geocoding).
  • Telemetry data may be collected on the health of the visual (for example, crash reports), if the telemetry option in Power BI is enabled.

Other than the scenarios described above, no other data overlaid on the map is sent to the Azure Maps servers. All rendering of data happens locally within the client.

You, or your administrator, may need to update your firewall to allow access to the Azure Maps platform that uses the following URL.

https://atlas.microsoft.com

To learn more, about privacy and terms of use related to the Azure Maps visual see Microsoft Azure Legal Information.

Azure Maps visual (Preview) behavior and requirements

There are a few considerations and requirements for Azure Maps visual. :

  • The Azure Maps visual (Preview) must be enabled in Power BI Desktop. To enable Azure Maps visual, select File > Options and Settings > Options > Preview features, then select the Azure Maps Visual checkbox. If the Azure Maps visual is not available after enabling this setting, it's likely that a tenant admin switch in the Admin Portal needs to be enabled.
  • The data set must have fields that contain latitude and longitude information.

Use the Azure Maps visual (Preview)

Once the Azure Maps visual is enabled, select the Azure Maps icon from the Visualizations pane.

Azure Maps visual button on the Visualizations pane

Power BI creates an empty Azure Maps visual design canvas. While in preview, another disclaimer is displayed.

Power BI desktop with the Azure Maps visual loaded in its initial state

Take the following steps to load the Azure Maps visual:

  1. In the Fields pane, drag data fields that contain latitude and longitude coordinate information into the Latitude and/or Longitude buckets. This is the minimal data needed to load the Azure Maps visual.

    Azure Maps visual displaying points as bubbles on the map after latitude and longitude fields provided

  2. To color the data based on categorization, drag a categorical field into the Legend bucket of the Fields pane. In this example, we're using the AdminDistrict column (also known as state or province).

    Azure Maps visual displaying points as colored bubbles on the map after legend field provided

    Note

    The built-in legend control for Power BI does not currently appear in this preview.

  3. To scale the data relatively, drag a measure into the Size bucket of the Fields pane. In this example, we're using Sales column.

    Azure Maps visual displaying points as colored and scaled bubbles     on the map after size field provided.

  4. Use the options in the Format pane to customize how data is rendered. The following image is the same map as above, but with the bubble layers fill transparency option set to 50% and the high-contrast outline option enabled.

    Azure Maps visual displaying points as bubbles on the map with a custom style

Fields pane buckets

The following data buckets are available in the Fields pane of the Azure Maps visual.

Field Description
Latitude The field used to specify the latitude value of the data points. Latitude values should be between -90 and 90 in decimal degrees format.
Longitude The field used to specify the longitude value of the data points. Longitude values should be between -180 and 180 in decimal degrees format.
Legend The field used to categorize the data and assign a unique color for data points in each category. When this bucket is filled, a Data colors section will appear in the Format pane that allows adjustments to the colors.
Size The measure used for relative sizing of data points on the map.
Tooltips Other data fields to display in tooltips when shapes are hovered.

Map settings

The Map settings section of the Format pane provide options for customizing how the map is displayed and reacts to updates.

Setting Description
Auto zoom Automatically zooms the map into the data loaded through the Fields pane of the visual. As the data changes, the map will update its position accordingly. When the slider is in the Off position, more map view settings are displayed for the default map view.
World wrap Allows the user to pan the map horizontally infinitely.
Style picker Adds a button to the map that allows the report readers to change the style of the map.
Navigation controls Adds buttons to the map as another method to allow the report readers to zoom, rotate, and change the pitch of the map. See this document on Navigating the map for details on all the different ways users can navigate the map.
Map style The style of the map. See the supported map styles document for more information.
Selection control Adds a button that allows the user to choose between different modes to select data on the map; circle, rectangle, polygon (lasso), or travel time or distance. When drawing a polygon, to complete the drawing; click on the first point, or double-click the map on the last point, or press the c key.

Map view settings

If the Auto zoom slider is in the Off position, the following settings are displayed and allow the user to specify the default map view information.

Setting Description
Zoom The default zoom level of the map. Can be a number between 0 and 22.
Center latitude The default latitude at the center of the map.
Center longitude The default longitude at the center of the map.
Heading The default orientation of the map in degrees, where 0 is north, 90 is east, 180 is south, and 270 is west. Can be any number between 0 and 360.
Pitch The default tilt of the map in degrees between 0 and 60, where 0 is looking straight down at the map.

Considerations and Limitations

The Azure Maps visual is available in the following services and applications:

Service/App Availability
Power BI Desktop Yes
Power BI service (app.powerbi.com) Yes
Power BI mobile applications Yes
Power BI publish to web No
Power BI Embedded No
Power BI service embedding (PowerBI.com) Yes

Where is Azure Maps available?

At this time, Azure Maps is currently available in all countries and regions except the following:

  • China
  • South Korea
  • Azure Government (GCC + GCC High)

For coverage details for the different Azure Maps services that power this visual, see the Geographic coverage information document.

Which web browsers are supported by the Azure Maps visual?

See this documentation for information on Azure Maps Web SDK supported browsers.

How many data points can I visualize?

This visual supports up to 30,000 data points.

Can addresses or other location strings be used in this visual?

The initial preview of this visual only supports latitude and longitude values in decimal degrees. A future update will add support for addresses and other location strings.

Next steps

Learn more about the Azure Maps Power BI visual:

Customize the visual: