Build Dashboards with USPS Data in Dundas BI

Create dynamic dashboards and perform analytics based on USPS data in Dundas BI.

The CData ODBC Driver for USPS enables access to live data from USPS under the ODBC standard, allowing you work with USPS data in a wide variety of BI, reporting, and ETL tools and directly, using familiar SQL queries. This article shows how to connect to USPS data as a generic ODBC Data Provider and create charts, reports, and dashboards based on USPS data in Dundas BI.

Connect to USPS Data

  1. If you have not already done so, provide values for the required connection properties in the data source name (DSN). You can configure the DSN using the built-in Microsoft ODBC Data Source Administrator. This is also the last step of the driver installation. See the "Getting Started" chapter in the Help documentation for a guide to using the Microsoft ODBC Data Source Administrator to create and configure a DSN.

    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.

    When you configure the DSN, you may also want to set the Max Rows connection property. This will limit the number of rows returned, which is especially helpful for improving performance when designing reports and visualizations.

  2. Open the Dundas BI interface, open the menu, and click New Data Connector.
  3. Configure the Dundas BI Data Connector:
    • Name the Data Connector.
    • Select "ODBC generic" as the Data Provider.
    • Check the "Use System DSN" checkbox.
    • Select the appropriate System DSN.

Add USPS Data to a Dashboard

You are now ready to create a dashboard with USPS data.

  1. Navigate to the Home page.
  2. Click Explore Data.
  3. Expand the appropriate Data Connector.
  4. Drag the relevant data from the Connector to the panel.
    • You can select an entire "table" to add, but you may need to remove Measures/Rows from the Metric Set to build an appropriate visualization. Alternatively, you can select only the fields you wish to include in the visualization.
    • With the fields selected, you can add any filters or conditions on the Measures and Rows, further customizing the visualization.
  5. Click Re-visualize from the menu bar and select the appropriate visualization for the data.
  6. Click Add To New Dashboard to add the visualization to a new dashboard.
  7. Configure the dashboard, creating dynamic visualizations of USPS data.