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If you have geographical data in your data source, using a map visual at some point in your Power BI report is almost a given.  Sometimes, however, the map doesn’t produce the results you were looking for.  For example, Fort Wainwright, Alaska might show up in India or not show up at all.  If you have ever had trouble with your maps not displaying what you know is right let me give you a few tips and tricks.

 1)      When you use a map you will have to change the category settings of your column in order for Power BI to know what kind of geography this column represents.  Is it a zip code, a city, a city and a state, etc.?

2)      If you use abbreviations for your states, countries, territories, etc. make sure Power BI doesn’t have to guess what part of the world is using that abbreviation.   To avoid confusion, you want to have in your data source the full name of your state, country, territory, etc.

3)   For the best results, if you can have two columns one with latitude and one with longitude then you will never get ambiguous results in your maps.

 

In this video, I tackle tips 1 and 2 from above and demonstrate how to change the data categories of your geographical columns to get your map started to show results.  Then to make it better, I show how to do add in a column of full state name even if your original data didn’t have a column with the full state name and ONLY had the state abbreviations.  

 

If you are interested in tip 3 of finding a way to insert latitude and longitude information for your geographical data check out this video:

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By Matt Peterson - December 21, 2020