Four Simple Steps to Create Bubble Map in Power BI Desktop

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We’re often asked in our Power BI training in Melbourne to elaborate the concept of selecting the best Map visual. So we started an archive to guide Power BI users in this regard.

Bubble maps are visuals that visualize a certain measure value on the map where size of the bubble is directly proportional to the measure value and the quantity of bubbles signification different locations in the dataset. Therefore, bubble maps are a class of visuals used to represent the distribution of a quantity on the map using the bubbles.

Bubble Maps can be created in Power BI using the Map Visual that uses Bing Maps to visualize Spatial Data. Bing Maps is a web mapping service provided as a part Microsoft’s Bing suite of search engines.

Let’s first have a look at the data set required to build maps. Maps are supported in Power BI for a data set containing spatial features. These features include any information related to the location such as longitude, latitude, zip, City, State, etc.  The data set also contains records for a value measured (for example Units Sold) at the particular locations. The value of this quantity governs the size of bubbles formed on the map.

It might seem easy to create map visuals just like any other visual in Power BI Desktop by dragging and dropping the required fields to the targeted values, but this may land you in trouble. So there are a few mistakes that you must avoid when working with spatial data.

Before you can start working with the map visualization:

  • The data must be transformed.
  • The data types must be set.

This blog walks you through four steps to create a bubble map in Power BI. Let’s look at the data set we will be using in this blog.

The data set used for this exercise contains information on sales figures across 11 states in the United States of America.

Selecting the Map visual:

To create a Bubble Map using Bing Maps, Select the Map Visual from the Visualizations pane.

Pulling in the Correct Data Fields:

Now that the viusal has been selected, it is the time to populate the visual with the correct fields.

To do this:

Step # 1 : Identify the column containing Latitude Values.

  1. Drag and Drop the Latitude field to Latitude value.

Step # 2 : Identify the column containing Longitude Values.

  1. Drag and Drop the Longitude field to Longitude value.

Step # 3: Identify the column whose values will be used to decide the size of bubbles.

  1. Drag and Drop the Units Sold field to Size value.

Step # 4: Label different regions with differ colors to distinguish from one another.

  1. Drag and Drop the State field to Legend value.

A map is created where different states have been allotted distinct colors. The size of the circles represents the value of units sold at that location.

Let’s see how this works !

Zoom in at Washington to find more details related to that state.


Maps are important when you want to visualize spatial data. Maps are the only visual that can be used to visualize spatial data. This data must be transformed to make it fit for accurate mapping. Bubble maps help to visualize the magnitude of values by the size of bubbles. Bubble maps can be constructed by four simple steps.

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