Here are some best practices to help you display your data as accurately on a Power BI map:
1) Use more than one location column (field).
Since you most likely will not be capturing longitude and latitude in your dataset, it’s important to provide Power BI with as much location information as possible to get the best plotting results. For example, if you want to display a map of where products have been purchased by city, be sure to also include the state and even the country fields, whenever possible, to avoid the map plotting the wrong location. For example, Paris is not only a city in France but also a city in Texas as well.
2) Categorize your data.
When address fields are loaded into Power BI, we find Power BI often defaults to interpreting address fields as text fields and without recognizing the geography that they represent. We recommend that you take the time to categorize your fields and ensure Power BI knows which columns are cites, states, countries, etc. for improved plotting accuracy.
How to categorize your data:
- Select the field in the fields list
- Choose the Column Tools tab
- Set the Data Category of the field to the appropriate value.
You can also create custom columns that combine multiple attributes together and set the Data Category as a “Place” for Power BI to tell Bing that several pieces of address information are included in the single column.
3) Consider which visualization style will communicate your data best.
Power BI has two standard map visualizations – a filled map and a shape map. Depending on your dataset, one map may offer a clearer presentation of information than the other. For example, if you are plotting states and every state in America is in your dataset, a filled map will just highlight the entire country and may not be as useful as a shape map that would not only put a bubble on each state but also provide additional information based on the bubble size. For example, if you track sales by location, you can set it so that the bubbles will be larger in the states that have the most sales.
An ArcGIS map by Esri can also be created in Power BI that provides even more mapping options such as the ability to create heat maps.