Specify the location type

ArcGIS for Power BI uses its powerful geoenabling technology to accurately position location data on the map and automatically renders items as points or boundaries by default based on the type of data. For example, a latitude-longitude coordinate is rendered as a point on the map, whereas a state field is rendered as a boundary, or polygon. You can change the way locations are rendered by specifying the location type.


Correctly preparing your data before mapping it can greatly improve performance and results.

To specify the location type for your data, do the following:

  1. Open a map-enabled report or create a new map.
  2. From the Layers list, click the data layer for which you want to modify the location type. Click the Layer options button Layer options and choose Location type.

    You can only specify the location type for a data layer created from Power BI data.

    The Location type pane appears.

  3. Choose whether to represent locations as Points or Boundaries.

    In some cases, ZIP Codes may be associated with nonresidential P.O. boxes; these codes do not have boundaries associated with them, and the GeoEnrichment service does not maintain demographic data for this type of ZIP Code. If you are creating a map using nonresidential ZIP Codes, use the Points location type. Using the Boundaries location type will result in errors during geocoding.

  4. Specify whether your data is in One country or Many countries.
  5. Choose the appropriate country or countries from the drop-down menu.
  6. If you chose to represent locations as boundaries, do the following:
    1. Choose the Location type setting to use to render locations on the map. Different options are available depending on the country.

      ArcGIS for Power BI uses different methods to find locations depending on the account you're signed in to. For more information, see Default locators.

    2. Specify the method used to match locations:

      • Exact match—Use this option to locate boundaries defined by codes or abbreviations, or when you're confident that the spelling in your dataset is correct and matches that used in Esri's data services.
      • Closest match—Use this option if you're not sure of the exact spelling used by Esri's data services, if you believe your dataset may contain spelling errors (such as Claifornia), or if an exact match search doesn't add all your data to the map.

      For more information, see Choose the boundary location search method.

  7. Click OK.

Specify location country using the Format pane

In some cases, ArcGIS for Power BI cannot accurately recognize the country for the data's location and may plot locations inaccurately. A message appears on the map stating that the accuracy of your locations can be improved.

Although the main Location type pane includes all the available options for specifying location type, you can quickly specify the country in which your data is located by using the Location type field on the Format tab of the Visualizations pane. This setting allows you to ensure that your data is accurately represented on the map.

To set the location country using the Format pane, follow these steps:

  1. From the Layers list, click the data layer for which you want to modify the location type.
  2. In the Visualizations pane, click the Format tab Format visualization.
  3. Expand the Location type category.
  4. From the drop-down menu, choose the country in which your data is located. If your data spans multiple countries, choose World.

    The map updates to reflect the changes.