Exploring ArcGIS for Power BI plugin

This article introduces the ArcGIS plugin for Microsoft Power BI, describes the licensing requirements and includes a small tutorial to locate and connect to ArcGIS for Power BI. Since there are many applications of this, we have linked some valuable resources which describe in depth what you can do with ArcGIS for Power BI and included some commonly faced issues that users experience when working with this plugin. While this short article is a good read for anyone, the intended audience for this article are users who are just getting started with ESRI’s ArcGIS plugin for Microsoft Power BI.

About Microsoft Power BI

Microsoft Power BI is a business analytics service provided by Microsoft. It provides interactive visualizations with self-service business intelligence capabilities, where end users can create reports and dashboards by themselves, without having to depend on information technology staff or database administrators.

About ArcGIS plugin for Microsoft Power BI
Esri has created a product called ArcGIS for Power BI. This component built into Microsoft Power BI helps add a new layer of depth to data analysis. ArcGIS for Power BI is a tool that enables you to map and visualize your data. The built-in spatial analysis tools and Esri’s rich collection of global data can help you uncover patterns and trends that are difficult to see in charts, tables, or spreadsheets.

The plugin allows a Microsoft Power BI user to:

  • Visualize data on maps for unique insights
  • Spatially analyze your data in Power BI: Detect patterns and trends in your data. Create heat maps, aggregate data into clusters, determine drive time, or find the nearest location—all with one click. 
  • Bring your ArcGIS data to Power BI: Bring geographic data created in your organization into Power BI and integrate it with tabular or any other business data.
  • Share Power BI reports with maps: Enable your organization to make informed decisions by using accurate maps and location data alongside other crucial business information.
  • Share your Power BI reports—with Esri maps—within your organization by using the Embedded or Publish to web features.

Do you have the correct license to use ArcGIS for Power BI

  1. ArcGIS Online: The ArcGIS for Power BI license is included for User Type Creator or Higher.
  2. ArcGIS Enterprise:
    • For versions leading up to ArcGIS Enterprise 10.7.1 the ArcGIS for Power BI license was included for User Type Creator or Higher. If user is assigned Creator or Higher User type they could design reports
    • As of January 2020, the way ArcGIS for PowerBI is licensed has changed. This functionality now requires a dedicated ArcGIS for PowerBI add on License that is tied with a specific account in ArcGIS Enterprise (10.8 and above). ArcGIS for Power BI Add on license needs to be a part of the Portal licensing file (Json File).
Figure 1: Licensing screen seen on MyESRI

Please Note:

If the assigned User Type is not Creator or Higher or if in ArcGIS Enterprise the ArcGIS Power PI add on is not assigned, user can still open and view the reports. But they may get a warning message at the bottom of the window

Figure 2: Warning message seen

Great, so until this point, we’ve discussed what the products are, ensuring the licensing needed to use this product. Let’s now understand how to access the plugin.

How do you access the ArcGIS plugin on Power BI

  1. Open Power BI
  2. Look for the ArcGIS icon in the visualisation pane shown below.
Figure 3: ArcGIS for Power BI Plugin in Microsoft Power BI visualisation pane

3. Click the ArcGIS icon and log in.

Account Types:

There are two account types in Power BI

  1. Standard: Use this to map business data and reveal hidden patterns
  2. ArcGIS: Use this to analyse your data deeper by adding secure, proprietary content from your ArcGIS organisation. (You will need to sign in with your ArcGIS organisational account credentials to unlock features). To access this make sure to click on the below highlighted option as it some times confuses users with the “globe” icon that says Maps
Figure 4: ArcGIS connection options on Microsoft Power BI

In the last section of this blog, we hope to cover some quick help topics that new users of this plugin may experience.

Unable to sign in to ArcGIS Online from ArcGIS for Power BI

When clicking the Sign in button to sign in to ArcGIS Online to access the hosted map layers from ArcGIS for Power BI, the action does not render any results.

The problem arises due to the volume of stored cache and the Chromium Embedded Framework (CEF) folder of the ArcGIS for Power BI application.

To solve the issue clear the ArcGIS for Power BI application cache, and delete the CEF folder of the application. Refer to ArcGIS for Power BI: Clear local storage in Power BI Desktop for steps. Technical Article: https://support.esri.com/en/Technical-Article/000026640

Clicking the Sign In button results in a large blank dialog box

Choose either the ArcGIS Online or ArcGIS Enterprise connection option. Clicking on the Sign in button opens a large blank dialog box.

This is a known issue and is logged as a BUG “BUG-000144627: Clicking the Sign In button results in a large blank dialog box”.

Use any version other than November 2021 update.

Error message, “Invalid URL” is returned when navigating from ArcGIS Maps for Power BI to ArcGIS Enterprise 

The error message, “Invalid URL” is returned when navigating from ArcGIS Maps for Power BI to an ArcGIS Enterprise environment that specifies Allow Origins in Portal for ArcGIS. By default, an ArcGIS Enterprise portal allows cross-domain requests via Cross-Origin Resource Sharing (CORS). This means a JavaScript client such as a web application hosted on any domain can connect to your portal’s resources.

If your ArcGIS Enterprise portal has CORS configured to restrict cross-domain requests to your portal, Power BI Desktop will not function as expected, as described in BUG-000133837.

To help solve the issue you can follow the steps mentioned in the Technical Article https://support.esri.com/en/Technical-Article/000025550

ArcGIS for Power BI to work with IWA (single-sign-on)

In Power BI App when selecting ArcGIS Enterprise, enter the Enterprise Portal URL, then click sign in. It doesn’t pop up any sign in window. This is seen even when creator privileges are assigned in ArcGIS Portal.

ArcGIS for Power BI supports built-in authentication methods when using ArcGIS Online or ArcGIS Enterprise in Power BI and Power BI Desktop in an online environment. The map visualization does not support IWA and PKI/Smartcard authentication in any Power BI environment.

Use the ArcGIS Power BI browser version and make sure the pop-ups are not disabled. An enhancement has been logged requesting this feature: ENH-000138735 The user would like Power BI to work with IWA (single-sign-on).


Toggling between pages in ArcGIS for Power BI removes the pop-up capabilities

Toggling between pages in ArcGIS for Power BI removes the pop-up capabilities of map services added as reference layers. When clicking the feature nothing happens.

This is a known issue and a bug “BUG-000140964: Toggling between pages in ArcGIS for Power BI removes the pop-up capabilities of map services added as reference layers” has been logged.

Remove and add back the reference layer to the ArcGIS for Power BI visualization.

Additional resources that can help get you started with ArcGIS Power BI:

  • ArcGIS for Power BI documentation Link
  • ArcGIS for Power BI Demos playlist

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