Geospatial Data Exploration with Excel Power View and SharePoint

4 March 2013 · 4 comments · 8470 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.


CJ Smit · 7 March 2013

Great video, very informative - Thanks Rafal.

Rafal Lukawiecki · 7 March 2013

CJ, thank you for your kind comment. I enjoyed recording it, too, I am glad you found it useful.

samihuq · 8 March 2013

Hey Rafal,
Great Video. I have been a fan of yours since the moment i saw your video on Attractive BI Dashboard on SharePoint 2010 and SQL 2008r2. I was really looking forward for the updated version of it and was a bit upset when i could not find it available to download :-(
Never the less your work has been remarkably outstanding and i am trying to follow your foot step. I have already deployed BI Semantic Model for my Company using SQL Server 2008 r2 and SP 2010 and now look forward to upgrade it :-) Please don’t stop sharing your ideas. Keep posting :-) You Rock :-D


Rafal Lukawiecki · 29 March 2013

Hi Sami, thanks for the comments. Have you seen this full-length video on SharePoint 2013 and SQL 2012 SP1 BI? It’s available to Full Access Members, and it is similar in style to the Attractive BI one, which you remember.