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Wise Owl Training
30 years in business
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Read about the many new features introduced in the March 2019 update
Part six of a ten-part series of blogs

This is the biggest single update for some time, introducing the new modelling view, tooltip styling, single-select slicers and much more besides.

  1. The March 2019 Update to Power BI Desktop
  2. A new modelling view to change your Power BI life!
  3. Changing the appearance of tooltips
  4. Single-select slicers
  5. Viewing date components in the field list
  6. Automatic heat maps and improvements to map formatting (this blog)
  7. Improved selection pane
  8. New DAX functions
  9. Lots of other miscellaneous changes
  10. Power BI features waiting in preview, as of March 2019

For a cumulative list of all of the updates to Power BI Desktop since November 2016 see this blog, or have a look at the Power BI courses that we run.

Posted by Andy Brown on 20 March 2019

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Automatic heat maps and improvements to map formatting

You can use turn the default Power BI map into a heat map, change its bubble sizes and display zoom buttons on it.

Heat Maps

The following maps shows passenger numbers for 2017-18 for stations in England, Scotland and Wales (excluding transit passengers):

Station data

I know this won't be enough information for many of you, so here's the link to the source of these statistics!


This is a poor way to display this data.  Much better to show a heat map:

Heat map

Unsurprisingly, the greatest number of station users seems to coincide with the largest concentrations of population.


To make this change, enable the new Heat map option:

The heat map option

The full range of properties that you can configure for a heat map (most of which are self-explanatory).  Note that if you specify an additional data field for a map (such as a legend or category field) the Heat map option shown here doesn't appear in the properties list.


New map formatting properties

There are a couple of new ways to format maps.  Firstly, you can reduce the bubble size for busy maps:

Bubble size

The bubble size can now be negative (smaller bubbles) as well as positive (bigger ones).


This can make maps easier to read:

Smaller bubbles

The same map as the one shown at the top of this page, but with the bubble size set to the minimum of -30.  You can pick out the train lines now, although I'm not quite sure why some of them go through the sea (I may have made an error tidying up the data).


You can also ask Power BI to display zoom buttons on a map:

Zoom buttons

The option to enable zoom buttons.


And here's what you'll get:

Zoom buttons on map

You can click on the + and - buttons to zoom in and out.

And yet despite all of these changes, the Shape Map visual remains where it has spent the last year and a quarter - in preview! 

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