Esri Maps for Office Brings Spreadsheets to Life
By Karen Richardson


KAREN RICHARDSON is a 20 year veteran of Esri. She is a senior writer covering the use of GIS technology and data in the commercial industry and mapping and charting space.


greenarrowFROM GOVERNMENTS TO BUSINESSES, OFFICE DATA IS ON THE MAP. IF YOU ARE AN ArcGIS Online user, you can now turn your Excel spreadsheet data into an interactive map without ever leaving Microsoft Office. Esri’s Maps for Microsoft Office can produce maps from spreadsheets just as quickly and easily as you can create a chart. Creating interactive maps of Excel data is simple. Maps can display locations, for example, customer addresses, sites by map coordinates, facilities, businesses, opportunities, distribution points; and geographic data, such as color-coded maps of sales by ZIP code or enrollment by state.

The Spreadsheet Data Challenge: Leica Geosystems

Mike Cooper is a Market Manager for Western Europe and the Middle East at Leica Geosystems. Because he works in the GIS industry, he has an in-depth knowledge of it, but he never considered himself a technical user. While he spends a lot of time looking at and analyzing data on his desktop, he wasn’t using a GIS to produce maps that would improve his presentations.

Cooper is in charge of market development for Leica’s Zeno GIS series, which offers automated Global
Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) post-processing and seamless integration with GIS systems. As Cooper was traveling Europe supporting distributors and talking to potential customers, he needed a way to easily show access to Europe’s SmartNet – an integrated GNSS Network – that can be accessed by Leica Zeno. “While we certainly have information on each country’s network availability, I wanted to be able to show people quickly where SmartNet was available,” said Cooper. “This kind of information just lent itself to a map.” See Figure 1.


FIGURE 1. Map produced in Esri Maps for Office is easily shared on www.ArcGIS.com to show anyone interested where they can access Europe’s SmartNet
FIGURE 1. Map produced in Esri Maps for Office is easily shared on www.ArcGIS.com to show anyone interested where they can access Europe’s SmartNet

Cooper loaded the data into Microsoft Excel and using Maps for Office, created a map displaying the availability of different networks in Europe. “I’ve done this type of mapping before, but it always took time and some creativity to get what I needed,” said Cooper. “Using this, I honestly created a map within minutes. Nothing could have been easier.” Now Cooper can update the information from Excel whenever a status changes, which updates the map service he created for his distributors, customers and potential
customers, who can view and share it on ArcGIS Online.

Make Maps Directly in Excel: How it Works

Esri Maps for Office is a downloadable add-in for Microsoft Office 2010 that helps organizations make better decisions through location analytics. Interactive maps in a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet can be FIGURE 2. Map of based on any geographic component, U.S. counties, 2013. such as customer locations or sales by ZIP Code, can then be added to Microsoft PowerPoint presentations or shared through Esri’s cloud mapping platform, ArcGIS Online. Maps shared through ArcGIS Online are accessible throughout an organization and available for embedding into mobile or web applications. Through tight integration of Esri Maps for Office with ArcGIS Online, users can access a variety of background maps, including street, satellite, and topographic maps. These maps can also reuse and incorporate (mash up) any other map to which their organization provides access, as well as tens of thousands of additional maps published by Esri’s worldwide user community.


I’ve done this type of mapping before, but it always took time and some creativity to get what I needed. Using this, I honestly created a map within minutes. Nothing could have been easier.”

— Mike Cooper, Market Manager for Western Europe and the Middle East at Leica Geosystems

Impact Your Audience

Maps are powerful communication tools that help users get their points across quickly and efficiently. Maps can also help them look at their data in different ways to gain additional insight.
Once a map has been made, the results can be immediately shared with others by adding them to PowerPoint presentations or by one-click publishing to ArcGIS Online. Both interactive and static maps can be shared. Users have full control over the map symbols and map styling so that they can tell their stories the way they want.

Creating Interactive Maps:
National Association of Counties

Staff at the National Association of Counties (NACo) discovered this. Interactive mapping is helping NACo tell their story to the federal government, which helps them to see NACo as a partner they can depend on to provide information to make better decisions.

NACo is the only national organization that represents county governments in the United States. The organization was founded in 1935, and provides essential services to the nation’s 3,069 counties. NACo advances issues with a unified voice before the federal government, improves the public’s understanding of county government, assists counties in finding and sharing innovative solutions through education and research, and provides value-added services to save counties and taxpayers money. See Figure 2.


FIGURE 2. Map of U.S. counties, 2013.
FIGURE 2. Map of U.S. counties, 2013.

A new Executive Director, Matt Chase,was selected in July 2012 and 2012 PILT funding. advocates before federal policymakers to promote counties and county issues. When Chase was hired, he didn’t have a technical background in GIS. That, however, didn’t stop him from using interactive maps on his iPad during executive board meetings.

Bert Jarreau, NACo’s Chief Innovation Officer and his staff have been supporting Chase’s endeavor by creating maps from Excel. Like Chase, Jarreau did not have a back- ground in mapping or GIS. “It’s been trial and error for us,” said Jarreau. “We’ve been creating the ‘How To’ book as we go along – understanding what a basemap is and which ones should be made available for our staff once they are unleashed to create their own maps. It’s been such an eyeopening experience to discover what we really have available in our data. We can’t wait to train the rest of the staff so they can use this tool. It is really powerful.”


Through tight integration of Esri Maps for Office with ArcGIS Online, users can access a variety of background maps, including street, satellite, and topographic maps.”


One interactive map Jarreau’s team created was to support a meeting with executives from Health and Human Services. This map displayed where hospitals and nursing homes were located in each county. America’s county governments deliver health care directly through public hospitals, clinics, nursing homes and other settings, and protect the public’s health through local health departments. Counties also contribute to the non-federal share for certain Medicaid services and provide health benefits to the nearly three million county workers and their retirees nationwide. With this interactive map, Chase was able to explore data with the executives he was presenting to in order to facilitate better discussions about healthcare initiatives.

Another map was created to show which counties were represented at NACo annual conferences. This data had been collected over a number of years, but there had never been a way to understand the trends in the data before. By mapping the information, staff were able to easily show how the makeup of attendees had changed over time.

This map was also used to show how many people took part in various NACo programs, such as dental discount cards, and federal funding such as payment in lieu of taxes (PILT). PILT is in place to compensate county governments for tax revenue that is lost because land is owned by the federal government, such as for a national park. While county governments still maintain the expense of infrastructure and services for these areas, they don’t receive a benefit from taxes for their programs. See Figure 3.


FIGURE 3. Map of 2012 PILT funding.
FIGURE 3. Map of 2012 PILT funding.

“This was really educational for our members,” said Jarreau. “While many had thought this program was more of a western phenomenon, there were actually a lot of eastern and southern counties that also were part of the program. This is just one of the things we discovered when we were able to look at the data on a map. We can’t wait to see what else we uncover.”


All that’s needed to get started using Esri Maps for Office is an ArcGIS Online paid or trial subscription, along with Microsoft Office 2010 or later.”


Part of ArcGIS Online

The interactive maps and presentations that business professionals create with Esri Maps for Office provide a powerful way of exploring issues ranging from gaps in existing service to opportunities for growth.

FIGURE 4. Figures 4-5 are examples of use for the insurance industry. This screenshot shows that information can be further filtered for easy discovery and analysis. Here, only households with more than $1000 per person of total insured value are displayed.
FIGURE 4. Figures 4-5 are examples of use for the insurance industry. This screenshot shows that information can be further filtered for easy discovery and analysis. Here, only households with more than $1000 per person of total insured value are displayed.

ArcGIS Online is secure. Users can rely on the solution to provide access to customers who need it. Customers retain intellectual property rights for the data they publish. Each data record is mapped with the ID of the owning subscription to ensure organization data is accessible only by the organization’s users. User identity is established through a login process that always takes place over HTTPS to ensure industry-standard encryption of sensitive information.

FIGURE 5. Total insured value per person is displayed for the state of Florida in this screenshot. All that’s needed to get started using Esri Maps for Office is an ArcGIS Online paid or trial subscription, along with Microsoft Office 2010 or later.
FIGURE 5. Total insured value per person is displayed for the state of Florida in this screenshot. All that’s needed to get started using Esri Maps for Office is an ArcGIS Online paid or trial
subscription, along with Microsoft Office 2010 or later.

With the ArcGIS Online collaboration capabilities and valuable content, Esri Maps for Office enables the use of familiar Microsoft Office tools to quickly and easily map and share data inside and outside an organization. All that’s needed to get started using Esri Maps for Office is an ArcGIS Online paid or trial subscription, along with Microsoft Office 2010 or later. Esri Maps for Office is available as a free download to organizations with ArcGIS Online subscriptions. For more information on Esri Maps for Office, visit esri.com/maps4office.