Xbox and Power Map team up to make better 3D gaming

Power Map rendering of Forza Horizon

Xbox and the Power Map team sounds like the title of an issue from the golden age of comics and their work to many may seem heroic. The joint efforts of these two Microsoft teams are being used to make video games more stable. The Power Map team, which usually uses Excel Spread sheets, 3-D mapping, and other mapping tools to create corporate analytics, took a bit of a side quest to help Xbox create more solid 3-D virtual worlds.

Power Maps is a 3-D visualization tool for Excel. It utilizes corporate data and combines with Bing maps to identify real world locations within a region. Power Maps combines the corporate data from Excel spreadsheets and combines them with Bing maps to display information across a maps of an area. Corporations can use these maps to identify which areas they are having success or are failing. This information can be used by a range of corporations including companies that want to track their sales trends, sports teams tracking fan base support, and emergency services analyzing their response to disasters.

In the same way that corporations can use Power maps to see where their organization is doing well or struggling, game makers can use Power maps to see where the heaviest traffic in their games is located. Office Blog recently shared a post from the perspective of the Power Maps team. They explained how Power maps is being used in gaming. “The new Custom Map and Filtering features in Power Map let the Xbox team visualize the results of multiple missions, as well as seek and isolate specific missions in the game, which needed further analysis.” Simply put, using the same technology as corporations analyzing activity in the real world, video game companies can track activity in the virtual world.

This map shows how an Excel spreadsheet and Power Map are used to show the emergency responses to various storms and which areas need more attention.

Power Map rendering of Florida Storm responses

This map made using the same technology shows which areas need to be improved in the virtual world.

Power Map rendering of game traffcic

Power Map is a heavy duty rendering tool that won’t be used by all users but if used can help a wide variety of corporations.

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