Filled maps (choropleths) in Power BI

A filled map uses shading or tinting or patterns to display how a value differs in proportion across a geography or region. Quickly display these relative differences with shading that ranges from light (less-frequent/lower) to dark (more-frequent/more).

US map

What is sent to Bing

Power BI integrates with Bing to provide default map coordinates (a process called geo-coding). When you create a map visualization in Power BI service or Power BI Desktop, the data in the Location, Latitude, and Longitude buckets (that is being used to create that visualization) is sent to Bing.

You, or your administrator, may need to update your firewall to allow access to the URLs Bing uses for geocoding. Those URLs are:

For more information about the data being sent to Bing, and for tips to increase your geo-coding success, see Tips and tricks for map visualizations.

When to use a filled map

Filled maps are a great choice:

  • to display quantitative information on a map.
  • to show spatial patterns and relationships.
  • when your data is standardized.
  • when working with socioeconomic data.
  • when defined regions are important.
  • to get an overview of the distribution across the geographic locations.

Prerequisites

  • Power BI service or Power BI Desktop
  • Sales and Marketing Sample

To follow along, the tutorial uses Power BI service, not Power BI Desktop.

Create a basic filled map

In this video, Kim creates a basic map and converts it to a filled map.

Get data and add a new blank page to the report

  1. To create your own filled map, download the Sales and Marketing sample by signing in to Power BI and selecting Get Data > Samples > Sales and Marketing > Connect. Or get the Power BI Sales and Marketing app on appsource.com.

  2. Open the Sales and Marketing report.

    Sales and marketing report opens

  3. Power BI opens the report. Select Edit report to open the report in Editing View.

  4. Add a new page by selecting the yellow plus sign at the bottom of the report canvas.

    Report tabs

Create a filled map

  1. From the Fields pane, select the Geo > State field.

    yellow check mark next to State

  2. Convert the chart to a filled map. Notice that State is now in the Location well. Bing Maps uses the field in the Location well to create the map. The location can be a variety of valid locations: countries, states, counties, cities, zip codes or other postal codes etc. Bing Maps provides filled map shapes for locations around the world. Without a valid entry in the Location well, Power BI cannot create the filled map.

    templates with the icon for filled map highlighted

  3. Filter the map to display only the continental United States.

    a. At the bottom of the Visualizations pane, look for the Filters area.

    b. Hover over State and click the expand chevron
    Visual level filters showing State(All)

    c. Place a check mark next to All and remove the check mark next to AK.

    State dropdown with All and AK not selected

  4. Select the paint roller icon to open the Formatting pane, and choose Data colors.

    Formatting pane showing Data colors option

  5. Select the three vertical dots and choose Conditional formatting.

    Data colors conditional formatting button

  6. Use the Default color - Data colors screen to determine how your filled map will be shaded. The options available to you include which field to base the shading, and how to apply the shading. In this example we're using the field SalesFact > Sentiment, and setting the lowest value for sentiment as red and the highest value as green. Values that fall between the maximum and minimum will be shades of red and green. The illustration at the bottom of the screen shows the range of colors that will be used.

    Default color pane with Sentiment selected

  7. The filled map is shaded in green and red, with red representing the lower sentiment numbers and green representing the higher, more-positive sentiment. To display additional detail, drag a field into the Tooltips well. Here I've added Sentiment gap and highlighted the state of Idaho (ID) and see that sentiment gap is low, at 6. filled map showing Idaho tooltips

  8. Save the report.

Power BI gives you plenty of control over the appearance of your filled map.Play around with these data color controls until you get the look you want.

Highlighting and cross-filtering

For information about using the Filters pane, see Add a filter to a report.

Highlighting a location in a filled Map cross-filters the other visualizations on the report page... and vice versa.

  1. To follow along, first save this report by selecting File > Save.

  2. Copy the filled map using CTRL-C.

  3. From the bottom of the report canvas, select the Sentiment tab to open the Sentiment report page.

    Sentiment tab selected

  4. Move and resize the visualizations on the page to make some room, then CTRL-V paste the filled map from the previous report.

    Filled map added to Sentiment page

  5. On the filled map, select a state. This highlights the other visualizations on the page. Selecting Texas, for example, shows me that Sentiment is 74, Texas is in the Central District #23.
    Texas selected

  6. Select a data point on the VanArsdel - Sentiment by Month line chart. This filters the filled map to show Sentiment data for VanArsdel and not their competition.
    new shading

Considerations and troubleshooting

Map data can be ambiguous. For example, there's a Paris, France, but there's also a Paris, Texas. Your geographic data is probably stored in separate columns – a column for city names, a column for state or province names, etc. – so Bing may not be able to tell which Paris is which. If your dataset already contains latitude and longitude data, Power BI has special fields to help make the map data unambiguous. Just drag the field that contains your latitude data into the Visualizations > Latitude area. And do the same for your longitude data.

Visualizations and Fields panes

If you have permissions to edit the dataset in Power BI Desktop, watch this video for help addressing map ambiguity.

If you do not have access to latitude and longitude data, but you do have edit access to the dataset, follow these instructions to update your dataset.

For more help with Map visualizations, see Tips and tricks for map visualizations.

Next steps

Shape map

Visualization types in Power BI