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Geospatial Data Exploration with Excel Power View and SharePoint

4 March 2013 · 4 comments · 12461 views

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Interactive, Zoomable Bing Maps for Your Data

Power View is a standalone component of Excel 2013, no longer requiring a SharePoint Server! This means it is now possible to quickly and easily create (2:05) fully interactive, zoomable maps of the world, while showing your own data on them. Best of all, it is not even necessary to store longitude and lattitude information in your data! As long as you have a textual name of a city, country, or region, Power View is able to automatically geocode your data so it appears in the right place on the map.

There are some more interesting, advanced, yet very easy to use geospatial analytics features, too: you can have your data automatically aggregated at the different levels of a geographical hierarchy, for example to see sales by country, state, or at the city level. This is all done automatically for you, thanks to xVelocity In-Memory Analytics Engine, which also ships as part of Excel 2013, and which you can access through the Excel PowerPivot ribbon. If you are new to this, all this means is that you just need to have a simple table, for instance one that includes every sale that you want to analyse, including the name of the city where the sale took place. Excel’s new Data Model (which uses xVelocity technology and the PowerPivot ribbon interface) will automatically aggregate sales at the city level, and so on, when you just display the city data point on a map. You can even break this down by categories creating a map of little pie-charts, as shown in the demo. Indeed, it is much easier to do than to explain in words, so have a look at the demo (1:12), and repeat the steps to learn it.

Whilst being able to do such advanced form of analytics without leaving Excel is power-to-the-user at its best, it also scales well to the needs of an organisation. For example, you may want to share such an analytical map with others through a corporate dashboard (8:44). SharePoint Server 2013 helps in that, and there are several ways to do it. While Rafal shows the dashboard and the underlying SQL Server Analysis Services tabular model briefly in the demo (11:11), this subject is explained in much more detail in our in-depth, 1-hour 20-minute video¬†Microsoft Business Analytics with Office 2013, SharePoint 2013 and SQL Server 2012, which is available to Full Access Members. If you are interested in learning more about Power View on SharePoint, or PowerPivot in Excel, we have additional, full-length training videos available here, and even more are on their way.

By the way, to benefit from those more advanced BI features of Excel 2013 you need to be using the correct version: all versions of Excel 2013 let you work with all data models, for example by means of Excel Pivot Tables, and you can create simpler models too. However, to use Power View, or for creating and editing of the more complex models with the PowerPivot ribbon you need Excel 2013 ProPlus edition (available through volume licensing), or the Office 365 Enterprise Plan E3 or higher.