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Import USPS Data into the Power BI Service for Visualizations

Use the CData Cloud Hub to create an OData feed for USPS and create custom reports in the Power BI Service.

Power BI transforms your company's data into rich visuals for you to collect and organize so you can focus on what matters to you. When paired with the CData Cloud Hub, you get access to USPS data for visualizations, dashboards, and more. This article shows how to use the CData Cloud Hub to generate an OData feed for USPS, import USPS data into Power BI and then create reports on USPS data in the Power BI service.

NOTE: You can also use the on-premise data gateway and the SQL interface in Cloud Hub to connect to USPS data in real-time (instead of importing the data). Read how in the related Knowledge Base article.

Create a Virtual SQL Database for USPS Data

CData Cloud Hub uses a straightforward, point-and-click interface to connect to data sources and generate APIs.

  1. Login to Cloud Hub and click Databases.
  2. Select "USPS" from Available Data Sources.
  3. Enter the necessary authentication properties to connect to USPS.

    To authenticate with USPS, set the following connection properties.

    • PostageProvider: The postage provider to use to process requests. Available options are ENDICIA and STAMPS. If unspecified, this property will default to ENDICIA.
    • UseSandbox: This controls whether live or test requests are sent to the production or sandbox servers. If set to true, the Password, AccountNumber, and StampsUserId properties are ignored.
    • StampsUserId: This value is used for logging into authentication to the Stamps servers. This value is not applicable for Endicia and is optional if UseSandbox is true.
    • Password: This value is used for logging into Endicia and Stamps servers. If the postage provider is Endicia, this will be the pass phrase associated with your postage account. It is optional if UseSandbox is true.
    • AccountNumber: The shipper's account number. It is optional if UseSandbox is true.
    • PrintLabelLocation: This property is required to use the GenerateLabels or GenerateReturnLabels stored procedures. This should be set to the folder location where generated labels should be stored.

    The Cache Database

    Many of the useful task available from USPS require a lot of data. To ensure this data is easy to input and recall later, utilize a cache database to make requests. Set the cache connection properties in order to use the cache:

    • CacheLocation: The path to the cache location, for which a connection will be configured with the default cache provider. For example, C:\users\username\documents\uspscache

    As an alternative to CacheLocation, set the combination of CacheConnection and CacheProvider to configure a cache connection using a provider separate from the default.

  4. Click Test Database.
  5. Click Privileges -> Add and add the new user (or an existing user) with the appropriate permissions.

Connecting to the Cloud Hub from Power BI

To import and visualize your USPS data in the Power BI service, add a Cloud Hub API user, add USPS OData endpoints in the Cloud Hub, and create & publish a dataset from Power BI Desktop to the service.

Add a Cloud Hub User

Create a User to connect to USPS from Power BI through Cloud Hub.

  1. Click Users -> Add
  2. Configure a User.
  3. Click Save Changes and make note of the Authtoken for the new user.
  4. Click Database and select the USPS virtual database.
  5. On the Privileges tab, add the newly created user (with at least SELECT permissions) and click Save Changes.

Add USPS OData Endpoints in Cloud Hub

After connecting to USPS, create OData Endpoints for the desired table(s).

  1. Click OData -> Tables -> Add Tables.
  2. Select the USPS database.
  3. Select the table(s) you wish to work with and click Next.
  4. (Optional) Edit the table definition to select specific fields and more.
  5. Save the settings.

Publish a Dataset from Power BI Desktop

With OData endpoints added to the Cloud Hub, you can create a dataset in Power BI descktop using OData connectivity and publish the dataset to the Power BI service.

  1. Open Power BI, click Get Data -> More, then select OData feed, and click Connect.
  2. Set URL to the Base URL of your Cloud Hub instance (e.g.: https://www.cdatacloud.net/myinstance/api.rsc) and click OK.
  3. Set User name and Password to user name and Authtoken from above.
  4. Select the full Base URL (https://www.cdatacloud.net/myinstance/api.rsc) as the level to apply the settings to/
  5. Select the table(s) to visualize in the Navigator dialog.
  6. Click Load to pull the data into Power BI.
  7. Define any relationships between the selected entities on the Relationships tab.
  8. Click Publish (from the Home menu) and select a Workspace.

Build Reports and Dashboards on USPS Data in the Power BI Service

Now that you have published a dataset to the Power BI service, you can create new reports and dashboards based on the published data:

  1. Log in to PowerBI.com.
  2. Click Workspaces and select a workspace.
  3. Click Create and select Report.
  4. Select the published dataset for the report.
  5. Choose fields and visualizations to add to your report.

SQL Access to USPS Data from Cloud Applications

Now you have a direct connection to live USPS data from the Power BI service. You can create more data sources and new visualizations, build reports, and more — all without replicating USPS data.

To get SQL data access to 100+ SaaS, Big Data, and NoSQL sources directly from your cloud applications, see the CData Cloud Hub.