Back in October, I started a new series called "About..." that would give our readers a quick look at new trending topics in GIS. This month, I want to revisit an article published by Skye Perry (Powerful Utility Reporting with ArcGIS Online) and demonstrate a new feature in the ArcGIS Online offering called Esri Maps for Office.
The Esri Maps for Office add-in allows you to create maps of your existing data right inside of Microsoft's Excel. As long as your data has address or other location data, it's just a few clicks to generate a map and then add it to a Power Point presentation or publish and share it in ArcGIS Online for others to use. Now here's the small caveat - you will need an ArcGIS Online account to use this add-in. You probably already have one or have been thinking about one anyway, since you are reading this blog. If you would like to sign up for a trial account, click here.
Now let's cut to the chase, and see this in action, by creating a dynamic map inside of Excel using the transformer data from the article mentioned above. If you need some guidance on getting started, jump to the installation section of this article.
Now let's quickly explore what's available to visualize our transformer removal data, so we can present it to upper management.
First, let's bring up grouping (click Grouping in the ribbon or right-click your layer and choose it from the context menu) and select the "Removal Reason" column, change up the symbols, and zoom into our service area. If you don't like the size of your symbols, go back to the Style Configuration panel and change the size with the slider at the bottom. You'll now see that our embedded map looks a lot like the one that was created in the previous article using ArcGIS Online. For the finishing touch, click on the gear located in the map's header and change the title to "Transformer Removals by Reason".
You may also want to experiment with the other options available, such as Clustering and Add Heatmap. Since we have a large number of points on this map, we can cluster the data into groups, so we can visualize areas where transformer removals are high. All you need to do is click on Clustering in the ribbon and your map will change to the following:
The clusters will automatically change as you zoom in and out on the map. This is pretty cool, as it allows you to present your data at a scale that you are interested in, and the clusters will adjust automatically. Here we will zoom in to a highly active area of our map - the cluster of 490 - so we can get a better feel where the transformer removal activity is taking place:
Clicking Add Heatmap on the ribbon will generate a new layer in your map showing the density of the points. Since it is a new layer, you can rename it, turn it on and off, and remove it without affecting your base map.
Again, the layer will update as you zoom in and out of the map. If we take a look at our zoomed-in area that we previously did in the clustering example, we can easily spot the most active locations and also see a "hot" area to the south.
You can also see here that I also turned off the data layer, because we are going to use this awesome looking graphic in our presentation.
Now that you have created your map, what's next? Let's take a look at the Share section on the ribbon.
Sharing options may not always be available. For example, if you have the heatmap layer selected, Share Layer will be inactive, since it cannot be shared on ArcGIS Online. Your account also needs to have publishing privileges assigned to it.
If you have interest in using Esri maps in presentations, you can also create interactive maps in PowerPoint. Without going into further details and making this article even longer, you can visit how to do that on the ArcGIS Resources site.
I hope you enjoyed this "About..." article outlining the latest technology from ArcGIS Online. The Office add-ins are a very powerful and useful set of tools to easily create dynamic maps and share them with your organization - all within an environment that you are already accustomed to. The use of Clustering and Heat Maps also allows you to add some additional visualization to your data and make your data more useful in presentations and/or reports. If you have any further questions, shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or feel free to provide some feedback using the "Add new comment" section below.
For more information about Esri Maps for Office, please visit the feature information page on the ArcGIS Online website. There you can download the add-in and watch some short tutorials on making maps inside of Excel.