Today’s post was written by Daniel Witriol, senior program manager on the Excel Power Map team.
New York is an iconic city with a rich history of innovation. I have a lot of family in New York and grew up visiting the city. Now that I’m living in Seattle, thousands of miles away, I don’t get to visit very often. However, I thought it might be fun to see if I could explore New York from the comfort of my desk using Excel. Through a little Internet searching, I discovered New York City’s “PLUTO” dataset. Created by the Department of City Planning, the PLUTO dataset includes information on every building in the city—more than 500,000 in total. I downloaded the dataset as CSV files and using Power Query for Excel, imported the data directly into Excel. I focused on the data file containing the borough of Manhattan as I’m most familiar with it. The dataset has a separate row for each building complex in the city and about 80 columns of information for each one.
I started by plotting a point at the address of each building. I quickly ended up with a view that looked about right, complete with a rectangular-shaped hole where Central Park is located.
The column containing the number of floors immediately caught my attention, I plugged the column into Power Map and told it to plot the number of floors as the bar height. Now I had something truly resembling the city.
Next, I dragged ‘Year Built’ from the list of fields into Power Map’s “Time” box. I could press the Play button and watch the city grow in front of my eyes. This dataset only includes buildings that are still standing, so it’s not a complete picture, but still very impressive to watch.
I then decided to experiment and plot the bar heights by the amount of Office space rather than the number of floors, and a totally different picture emerged.
This is a really fun dataset to play with. You can color code by different districts, or use data cards to see who owns buildings, or plot the city’s landmarks with the “Landmark” field.
Check out the video for yourself to see a brief tour I made with Power Map exploring the city.
Of course the best experience is truly to interact with it yourself. I encourage you to give it a try, you can download the Excel file here.
Power Map for Excel is available with any Office 365 subscription that includes Office desktop apps. To use Power Map, open Excel and go to Insert > Map.
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