Add a reference layer

When you add Power BI data to your ArcGIS for Power BI visualization, you're creating a data layer. You can change the styling options for this layer and add data field values to better tell your story.

When you add a reference layer to the map, you're providing context for the data you're already displaying. Reference layers can include demographic data, such as household income, age, or education. They can also include publicly shared feature layers available on ArcGIS Online that provide more information about areas surrounding the locations on your map. For example, if your data layer shows the location of fast-food restaurants, you can add a reference layer that shows the proximity of high schools and universities. Reference layers allow you to use your data to provide the bigger picture of your business information. When you sign in using your ArcGIS organizational account, you have access to content from your organization and from ArcGIS Living Atlas of the World.

After you've added a reference layer to a map, you can create a join between the reference layer and Power BI data attributes to gain more insight into your data.

Note:

ArcGIS for Power BI filters out unsupported item types from the reference layer gallery. If you're using the standard ArcGIS for Power BI visualization that comes with Power BI, reference layers you add to your map must be feature services that contain a single layer. If you don't see the item you're looking for, verify that the layer is saved as a single-layer feature service in ArcGIS. When you sign in using your ArcGIS organizational account, the reference layer gallery shows all supported item types.

Add a demographic layer

ArcGIS for Power BI includes a variety of United States demographics layers that you can add to your map to provide additional information about the areas surrounding your locations.

To add a demographic layer to your map, do the following:

  1. From the map tools, click the Analysis tools button Analysis tools to expand the toolset and click Reference layer Reference layer.
    Tip:

    To display the map tools, click the Map tools button Map tools.

    The Reference layer pane appears, showing thumbnails of the available demographics layers.

  2. Click a demographics layer and click Add.

    The reference layer appears on the map, rendered under the data layer. A new reference layer appears in the Layers list.

  3. Click a polygon on the layer to view tooltips for the reference layer.
  4. To select a location based on the reference layer, select the layer in the Layers list. Expand the selection tools and click the Reference select button Select using a reference layer. Click a location on the reference layer.

    Locations that fall within the boundaries of the area selected on the reference layer are selected; all other locations on the map appear dimmed.

  5. To delete the layer, click Layer options Layer options on the reference layer and choose Remove.

Add a layer from ArcGIS

ArcGIS for Power BI allows you to search for publicly shared feature layers on ArcGIS, giving you access to thousands of reference layers that provide information about the areas surrounding the locations on your data layer. Layers added from ArcGIS must support HTTPS.

When you sign in using your ArcGIS account, you can search for content in your organization, your organization's groups, or public content. If you're not signed in, only publicly shared content appear in search results.

Note:

To make your own reference layer available in ArcGIS, see Add custom reference layers to ArcGIS Online.

  1. From the map tools, click the Analysis tools button Analysis tools to expand the toolset and click Reference layer Reference layer.
    Tip:

    To display the map tools, click the Map tools button Map tools.

    The Reference layer pane appears, with the Demographics tab active.

  2. Click the ArcGIS tab.
  3. In the Search ArcGIS text box, type one or more keywords and press Enter.

    If you're signed in with your ArcGIS account, choose the search location from the drop-down menu before pressing Enter.

    For more information about searching for terms, see Use search.

    The search results appear in the pane, showing thumbnails of the feature layers.

    Note:

    The search results include only publicly shared, single-layer feature services. Web maps or other complex or raster objects do not appear.

  4. Scroll to browse through the thumbnails.
  5. Click Add on the desired reference layer.

    The reference layer appears on the map, rendered under the data layer. A new reference layer appears in the Layers list.

  6. Click a polygon on the layer to view tooltips on the reference layer.
  7. To select a location based on the reference layer, select the layer in the Layers list. Expand the selection tools and click the Reference select button Select using a reference layer. Click a location on the reference layer.

    Locations that fall within the boundaries of the area selected on the reference layer are selected; all other locations on the map appear dimmed.

  8. To delete the layer, click Layer options Layer options on the reference layer and choose Remove.

Add a layer from ArcGIS Living Atlas

When you sign in using your ArcGIS organizational account, you can access content from ArcGIS Living Atlas.

To add a reference layer from ArcGIS Living Atlas, do the following:

  1. From the map tools, click the Analysis tools button Analysis tools to expand the toolset and click Reference layer Reference layer.
    Tip:

    To display the map tools, click the Map tools button Map tools.

    The Reference layer pane appears, with the Demographics tab active.

  2. Click the Living Atlas tab.

    The Living Atlas tab appears only when you're signed in to ArcGIS.

  3. To narrow your search to a specific theme, click All themes and choose a theme.
  4. In the Search Living Atlas text box, type one or more keywords and press Enter.

    For more information about searching for terms, see Use search.

    The search results appear in the pane, showing thumbnails of the feature layers.

    Note:

    The search results include only publicly shared, single-layer feature services. Web maps or other complex or raster objects do not appear.

  5. Scroll to browse through the thumbnails.
  6. Click Add on the desired reference layer.

    The reference layer appears on the map, rendered under the data layer. A new reference layer appears in the Layers list.

  7. Click a polygon on the layer to view tooltips on the reference layer.
  8. To select a location based on the reference layer, select the layer in the Layers list. Expand the selection tools and click the Reference select button Select using a reference layer. Click a location on the reference layer.

    Locations that fall within the boundaries of the area selected on the reference layer are selected; all other locations on the map appear dimmed.

  9. To delete the layer, click Layer options Layer options on the reference layer and choose Remove.