Power BI for Office 365 preview and Power BI in Excel updates

We are excited to share that today the Power BI for Office 365 preview has been updated to include natural language search through Q&A as well as our improved experiences to two Power BI add-ins in Excel, Power Map and Power Query, which provide customers with improved data 3D mapping visualizations and data search, respectively.

We’ve had our preview open for an initial wave of customers over the past month and are encouraged by the enthusiastic response we’ve received. For more details please check out the Data Platform Insider blog and Excel Blog

To learn more and register for the preview visit www.powerbi.com. You can also download Power Map and Power Query along with sample datasets on the Power BI add-in Getting Started page. To see Power BI for Office 365 in action, check out this demonstration. Tell us what you think by posting in the comments below or tweeting us at @SQLServer #MSBI #PowerBI.

Power Map for Excel earns new name with significant updates to 3D visualizations and storytelling

We are announcing a significant update to Power Map Preview for Excel (formerly Project codename “GeoFlow” Preview for Excel) on the Microsoft Download Center. Just over five months ago, we launched the preview of Project codename “GeoFlow” amidst a passionately announced “tour” of global song artists through the years by Amir Netz (see 1:17:00 in the keynote) at the first ever PASS Business Analytics conference in April. The 3D visualization add-in has now become a centerpiece visualization (along with Power View) within the business intelligence capabilities of Microsoft Power BI in Excel, earning the new name Power Map to align with other Excel features (Power Query, Power Pivot, and Power View).

Information workers with their data in Excel have realized the potential of Power Map to identify insights in their geospatial and time-based data that traditional 2D charts cannot. Digital marketers can better target and time their campaigns while environmentally-conscious companies can fine-tune energy-saving programs across peak usage times. These are just a few of the examples of how location-based data is coming alive for customers using Power Map and distancing them from their competitors who are still staring blankly at a flat table, chart, or map. Feedback from customers like this lead us to introduce Power Map with some new features across experience of mapping data, discovering insights, and sharing stories.

Map data

  • Improved Getting Started Experience: Automatically plot data points with Bing Maps when you launch Power Map, recognizing type of geo-characteristic your columns of data have (latitude/longitude, city, state, country/region, etc.). Skip the step of selecting the type for each column being mapped and get visualizing!

Discover insights

  • Regions visualization: New region-based visualization that color-codes these geo-political areas: zip code, county, state, country/region. For example, during an election, indicating status of polling by red (Republican) and blue (Democrat) states. Check out the states light up by predominant power production over a 100 year period in the below video tour.
  • Flat map: Map your data in its most useful form, either as a globe or flat map, allowing comparison of 3D columns across a horizon and world while creating an intriguing visual effect when switching between the two options in a tour.

Share stories

  • Create video tour: Take the interactive tours you create in Power Map to create videos optimized for mobile (360p), tablets/computer (720p), and HD Displays (1080p). This is the first step in “unlocking” tours from the Excel workbook as these videos can be shared anywhere, including social media, PowerPoint slides, and Office 365.

Learn more about how to create this Power Map tour by watching this video and downloading the U.S. Power Stations sample workbook.

Also notable are improvements in the following areas that were frequent asks of customers:

  • Additional language support: Expanding language support of user experience and data that can geo-coded in Power Map to Spanish, Japanese, and Arabic. More languages will be coming soon for General Availability of Power Map next year.
  • Support for calculated fields and hidden columns in Power Pivot: Power Pivot users can now map data in the Data Model when there are these commonly used modeling characteristics.
  • Change color for a data series: Customize color schemes of your visualizations to fit your audience or personal preferences.

We look forward to hearing your feedback and seeing what great tours, now exportable to video, you will create and share! You can start by getting inspired by our sample workbooks (with tours) on the Power BI Getting Started Page and download the Power Query Preview for Excel to discover, filter, and shape public and private data that can be visualized in Power Map. Be sure to register for the Power BI Preview for Office 365 on www.powerbi.com to further the reach of your Excel reports with self-service BI in the browser and across devices. Tell us what you think by posting in the comments below or tweeting us at @SQLServer #PowerMap #MSBI #PowerBI.

Public preview of project codename “GeoFlow” for Excel delivers 3D data visualization and storytelling

Editor’s note: Since this article was originally published in April 2013, Project codename “GeoFlow” has been renamed Power Map as part of the new Power BI for Office 365 offering.

Today we are announcing the availability of the project codename “GeoFlow” Preview for Excel 2013, a result of collaborations between several teams within Microsoft. GeoFlow lets you plot geographic and temporal data visually, analyze that data in 3D, and create interactive “tours” to share with others.

GeoFlow originated in Microsoft Research, evolving out of the successful WorldWide Telescope project for scientific and academic communities to explore large volumes of astronomical and geological data. Researchers collaborated closely with the Office product team to usher GeoFlow from its research lab inception to this public preview availability in Excel. GeoFlow adds to the existing self-service Business Intelligence capabilities in Excel 2013, such as Microsoft Data Explorer Preview and Power View, to help discover and visualize large amounts of data, from Twitter traffic to sales performance to population data in cities around the world.

With GeoFlow, you can:

  1. Map Data: Plot more than one million rows of data from an Excel workbook, including the Excel Data Model or PowerPivot, in 3D on Bing maps. Choose from columns, heat maps, and bubble visualizations.
  2. Discover Insights: Discover new insights by seeing your data in geographic space and seeing time-stamped data change over time. Annotate or compare data in a few clicks.
  3. Share Stories: Capture “scenes” and build cinematic, guided “tours” that can be shared broadly, engaging audiences like never before.

Unlocking insights within geospatial data like ticket sales is now possible with GeoFlow.

To learn more about how people are already using GeoFlow to gain and share insights in conjunction with existing self-service business intelligence tools in Excel, go the Excel blog.

Download the Add-in for Excel 2013 with Office 365 ProPlus or Office Professional Plus 2013.

Find out more about Microsoft BI.