Throughout history, humans have been amazed by how the tiny planet we live on is “lost” in such a vast universe. Though it appears so insignificant when measuring it in time and space, Earth continues to amaze even the most intelligent minds that dwell on it.
There are endless stories that people can tell about our quaint little home. The story I chose to tell is about people. After all, they are the only ones (that we’re aware of) who can appreciate the immensity and diversity of our home planet. Specifically, I chose to tell a story about people living in what used to be (and occasionally still is) called “the leader of the free world.”
I’ve built a simple Power Map tour that tells the stories of the people of the United States of America. I focused on four demographic indicators:
- Dwelling Ownership
The content of this article is structured in two main parts: first, we’ll focus on Power Map’s features, and then I will walk through how to create a Power Map tour.
Power Map Features
Power Map will allow you to create multiple Tours within the same Excel workbook. A tour is a dynamic geographical analysis – a bird’s eye view, if the bird could survive in outer space – that can be exported to a movie, which can then be shared with anyone. The USA Demographics Demo I created is an example of a tour.
A tour can consist of multiple scenes. Each animated scene can consist of multiple layers, where each layer is based on specific data from your spreadsheet. For each layer you need to set the scale of your geographic data. You can map your metrics on either latitude/longitude coordinates or on address level elements (Street, City, County, State, Zip and/or Country) depending on the geographic data you have available.
Next, you can select the metric fields and the chart type you desire (Stacked Column, Clustered Column, Bubble/Pie Chart, Heat Map, Region):
You can set the layer colors that are visible in the Chart, Legend. This way you can align all of your scenes or even tours to use the same color pallets:
You can set the duration of a specific scene and the animation effects you like to apply to the scene:
You can also choose for a desired theme for a specific scene and, if you want, switch to a flat map instead of the 3D map:
One of the coolest features of Power Map that I did not use in my demo is allowing you to animate data along a time lapse. When using data over time, you can watch as the pie charts/columns/heat map change in each geographical region. You’ll get to experience if you have the right temporal data to tell your story. Here’s an interesting video in which, using the GPS on his windsurfing board and a Power Map time lapse, one man shows how wind speed affected the speed of his board as he cruised across Lake Washington.
Once you’ve got your story assembled, you can select a soundtrack and export your masterpiece to a video file.
The best way to learn Power Map is to experience it with a dataset you love to analyze! It’s easy to use and can really change the way you interpret your data. The steps below will help you get started:
Step-by-Step Tutorial: How to Create a Power Map Tour
1) Once you’ve got Power Map installed and enabled, go to the INSERT tab and click on the Map > Launch Power Map menu option
2) Click on the New Tour button
3) Click on the text “Tour 1” above the first default scene and name your tour
4) In the Fields List, choose the field that contains your geographic data. I chose the “State” field from my data. Then make sure it’s mapped to the appropriate geographic level – for me, this was State/Province. Then click Next:
5) To review the mapping confidence, click on the %:
In my case, my data had a 100% mapping confidence for all State values, but there are instances when the mapping confidence is lower, due to locations that are not mapped or locations that were mapped with a lower confidence.
6) Next, select the measures that you’ll be displaying in your scene. To create the Diversity layer, I picked the following 7 measures from the fields list to render the racial distribution by state:
- American Indian and Alaskan Native
- Hispanic or Latino Origin
- Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander
- Two or more races
7) I changed the visualization to “Bubble” by clicking on the relevant icon:
8) You can rename your layer by clicking on the crayon button next to “Layer 1”
9) You can easily change the theme of the scene to your desired color scheme. I used the Radiate theme:
This color scheme will be reflected on the map, in the legend, and in any 2D Charts that you add, as shown below:
11) From Settings > Scene Options you can set the “camera” effect that you want to use for the scene, in addition to being able to change the name, duration of the scene, etc. Try them all to determine which one gives the best perspective on your data.
12) You can easily add Text boxes and format them to add Title(s) and Description(s) to your scene:
13) To add a new scene simply click on the Add Scene toolbar button. To play the tour you’ve created, click on the Play Tour toolbar button.
14) Finally, you can easily export your whole tour to a video file by clicking on the Create Video button.
Create your own story based on your data! You can even share it with your social networks, so everyone can hear and see the story you have to tell.
Posted by Brian Pohl