I finally got my hands on Excel 2013 and added to it Power Map (though if to be quite frank with you, it was still called GeoFlow when I did it). I admit I was very enthusiastic after seeing the post on the Excel blog.
I would first have to say that visualization is RICH. It is every bit as exciting and beautiful as it looks in the different posts given about it. Seeing things evolve on the map over time really does make a whole lot of sense. You suddenly see things.
And yet, there were still a few things that bugged me:
1. You can’t show two measures in one layer – though the workaround for that is simple, as you can create another layer for the second measure. Still, could have been made simpler.
2. You can’t integrate other shape files – you cannot add ESRI maps specific to your organization, or any shape file for that matter. Power Map will only show you data according to the layers that exist for that area in Bing.
3. It only works with Excel 2013 with Office 365 ProPlus or Office Professional Plus 2013 – now I know, it’s their way of making a living, but I admit this feels like a continuum of PowerPivot working just on SharePoint 2010 Enterprise Edition. And it’s disappointing. I would like to hope that I’ve got it wrong and perhaps this BI tool is somewhat more accessible for small to mid tier companies through Office 365 Pro Plus.
4. You can’t drill through – if you’re looking at data shown for a few years and you’re interested in the data that makes up a specific year (for instance months of that year), you need to look at a different layer. You need to define different layers for each level and then show \ hide the level you’re interested in.
5. You can’t upload it to SharePoint – as far as I know, you can’t really share the tour you create with Power Map on SharePoint. This has been said quite some time ago, both in the comments to a post about GeoFlow and a question on SharePoint in the forum. Something within me is waiting to hear that’s no longer true…
I also admit I tried to show it as a showcase of BI Power in Excel 2013 to the Municipality’s CIO. And that’s exactly the place I discovered that Power Map does not show on remote desktop :(..
So, I love the visualizations, but I think it’s still very much a “Preview” as they state in the download page. I still encourage you to give it a spin, as Microsoft is giving this and Power Query (formerly known as Data Explorer) their own blog of Power BI. Maybe if you play with it and react enough to it through the specific forum, then maybe we can move Microsoft from doing re-branding to making it a full pledge product? I sure hope so – cause it’s worth it!