Using 3D Maps in Excel

Jan 04
Using 3D Maps in Excel

Excel is one of the most popular applications used for analysis of data on the market today. There are some features of Excel that have not changed much at all over the different versions and others that have grown by leaps and bounds. Excel 2016 has several new features that are fun to work with and also provide unique visualization of data that can be very useful in our everchanging business world. Today we will look at the 3D Mapping feature that is part of Excel 2016.

Visualizing data in new and exciting ways is one of the elements of reviewing data analysis that keeps it fresh in the eyes of the analyst. 3D Mapping does just that. It allows the user to select data from an Excel spreadsheet and turn it into a global 3D map of where our company does business. If time data is available the map can be recorded as a time lapse event called a scene and can be played in the Excel sheet or exported as a video.

To set up the 3D map start with a table of Excel data which can be as simple as 2-3 columns of data. An important piece of data is a location column and another would be an amount associated with that location. My example data looks like this:


Not all of the data is used from this table to create the 3D Map but the data that is plotted is the location and the data points height is based of the number shown in the Extended price column. When the data is added to a map it looks something like this:


Each colored dot is one of the data values for Extended Price plotted in the country in which the product was sold. The size of the circle reflects the amount of the value in scale with the other values in the list. This particular map is a flat version but there is an option to make the map spherical as well. There are also various Theme settings that control the colors and shapes that appear as the data points.

Here is another example that shows that data plotted on a spherical map with columns that accumulate instead of circles to represent sales. This map also shows another of the color schemes available.