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Using PowerBI to Visualize Real Time Airline Data

Using PowerBI to Visualize Real Time Airline Data

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I have been curious about handling real-time flight data using Excel. One of the scenarios of interest in the Airline world is realtime data about flights, airports & delays. FlightStats.com has real-time data available on their site and interestingly also have an API that can be accessed using a developer account. To begin with I signed up for a developer account with FlightStats.Com via https://developer.flightstats.com/.  The FlightStats API can easily be accessed using Power Query for Excel 2013 without having to be a coder.

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With Excel 2013 & Power Query you really DON’T need to know how to code. Once you register for a developer evaluation account and its approved you will have an Application ID and Application Key as shown below:

 

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The API Documentation for FlightStats is available via https://developer.flightstats.com/api-docs/and there are several APIs that you can use:

 

·       Airports API

 

·       Airport Response·       Alerts API ·       Alerts Response

 

·       Alerts Callback·       Connections API

 

·       Flights Response·       Delay Index API

 

·       Delay Index Response·       Flight Status & Track API

 

·       Requests·       Flight Status & Track by Airport·       Flight Status & Track by Flight·       Flight Status by Route·       Flights Near·       Flight Status & Track by Fleet·       Responses·       Flight Position Response·       Flight Status Response·       Flight Track Response·       FIDS API

 

·       FIDS Response·       Ratings API

 

·       Ratings Response·       Schedules API

 

·       Scheduled Flights Response·       Weather API

 

For experimenting with with Real-Time data in Excel 2013 I decided to use the Delay Index API to view airport delays. Information about the Delay Index API can be found at https://developer.flightstats.com/api-docs/delayindex/v1. The Delay Index API offers access to current departure performance at airports. FlightStats samples a relevant time range and considers the magnitude of delay, cancellations, and time of day to generate a normalized score. The delay index is a number from 0-5, used to restrict results to airports experiencing delays [0-5, 5=maximum delay].

 

You can test out the Delay Index API using the interactive console on the page. I used the Delay Indexes by Region option to get the delays for the major airports in North America:

 

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Once you send the Request, it generates the Request string that you can copy and use in Power Query for Excel 2013. The Request String that I generated with this was:

 

https://api.flightstats.com:443/flex/delayindex/rest/v1/json/region/North%20America?appId=yourAppID&appKey=YourAppKey&classification=3&score=3

I used the query string in Power Query’s From Weboption:

 

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This gave me a table with the airports that were experiencing major delays at the moment. This morning, the ones with most delays turned out to be Cleveland, DFW & O’Hare

 

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I wanted to setup Excel to automatically update the delay index in near real time every 5 minutes. To do this, I set the connection properties for the connection in Excel to update automatically.

 

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The Power Map for Excel Screen Capture below shows the delays around 1PM PST today (Dec 30, 2013)image

FIDS (Flight Information Display System) displays Flight Arrival & Departure Information such as those commonly deployed in airport terminals & hotel lobbies. I used the FIDS API from FlightStats, Inc. to get a data analyst view of the FIDS with insights on number of flights headed to a destination, from a gate, by an airline.

SEA Departure 20140104

Here are some screen captures from 11AM to 3PM PST that shows the changes in delays across the country:

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  • Great use of FlightStats.

    This video has an older (geoflow) demo of seeing a single flight. I've started using PowerQuery and GoGoInflight WiFi to build this enroute.

    http://youtu.be/LIb2Y5Mw-Xo

  • thanks for the link Bill.

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