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With an introduction complete, get ready to dive deep!
Power BI has two different types of map visualizations: a bubble map that places a bubble over a geographic point, and a shape map that actually shows the outline of area you want to visualize.
Note: When working with countries or regions, use the three-letter abbreviation to ensure that geocoding works properly in map visualizations. Do not use two-letter abbreviations, as some countries or regions may not be properly recognized.
If you only have two-letter abbreviations, check out this external blog post for steps on how to associate your two-letter country/region abbreviations with three-letter country/region abbreviations.
To create a bubble map, select the Map option in the Visualization pane. You must add a value to the Location bucket in the Visualizations options to use a map visual.
Power BI is flexible about what type of location value it accepts, from more general details like city name or airport code, down to very specific latitude and longitude data. Add a field to the Values bucket to change the size of the bubble accordingly for each map location.
To create a shape map, select the Filled Map option in the Visualization pane. As with bubble maps, you must add some kind of value to the Location bucket to use this visual. Add a field to the Values bucket to change the intensity of the fill color accordingly.
A warning icon in the top left corner of your visual indicates that the map needs more location data to accurately plot values. This is a particularly common problem when the data in your location field is ambiguous, such as using an area name like Washington that could indicate a state or a district. One way to resolve this problem is to rename your column to be more specific, such as State. Another way to resolve it is to manually reset the data category by selecting Data Category in the Modeling tab. From there you can assign a category to your data such as "State" or "City".