Skip to Content
Author's profile photo Leonard Tan

Visualizing Air Pollutant Index (API) with Lumira and

I’m sure many have once thought, visualizing a set of data is a time consuming task and isn’t a straight forward and simple process. However, this has all changed with Lumira! With Lumira, you can now quickly transform large data set into nice charts and story board that you need.

As many might aware that Malaysia has been “gloomy” for few months last year (Sep ’15 to Dec ’15) due to the thick haze that was blown from our neighbouring country due to the burning activities that happened in hundreds of “hotspot”. After much thought, I was thinking maybe this is a “good opportunity” to show case one of the SAP BI tool, namely Lumira!

What is Lumira?

Basically, SAP Lumira is a self-service solution that allows analysts and decision makers to access, transform, and visualize data. The SAP Lumira desktop experience is used to prepare data from multiple sources, visualize it, and then compose stories from those visualizations that can be shared with other decision makers using the SAP Lumira server and cloud platforms which provide browser and mobile based experiences to further analyse data and collaborate with colleagues on datasets, stories, and other business intelligence artifacts. – (

Why Lumira?

Well, there’re a lot of tools when it comes to SAP BI (Business Intelligence) Reporting offerings, which now have been categorized under the Enterprise Information Management umbrella. Lumira was chosen for this initiative purely because it provides the following benefits:

  1. Access and cleanse data quickly from the source
  2. Quickly discover the trend and transform the data into visual.
  3. Flexible access to external source system with Data Access Extension

How-to Lumira?

A. Data Acquisition

First of all, source information is the most important or shall I say the starting point in building any Report / Visual. In this case, data will be extracted from the Department of Environment’s (DOE) official website,, which can be obtained on an hourly basis.

Image (1).jpg

With the help of (is a web-based platform for extracting data from websites without writing any code. The tool allows people to create an API using their point and click interface), I’m able to get the data in a tabular format and update to a google excels which allow us to grab the data and load into Lumira.

  1. Paste the URL of the website to the “Query your API” box and hit the “Run query” button.Image (2).jpg
  2. Click on the “Export” and select “Export to Google Sheets”Image (3).jpgImage (4).jpg
  3. Sign in into to your google drive, and then the file will be published in your google drive.Image (5).jpg

B. Data Visualisation

Using Lumira, with the Data Access Extension for google excel, I can easily use the information from the google excel to create my own Lumira story.


Enable Lumira to use Data Access Extension:

    • In C:\Program Files\SAP Lumira\Desktop, open the SAPLumira.ini file. Add the following entries to this file and save it:
      • -Dhilo.externalds.folder=C:\Program Files\SAP Lumira\Desktop\daextensions
      • -Dactivate.externaldatasource.ds=true

Image (6).jpg

                Image (7).jpg

Once the pre-requisite is fulfilled, you may proceed with the following steps:

  1. Select File > New > External Datasource > NextImage (8).jpgImage (9).jpg
  2. Select “googlespreadsheets” and hit the “Next” button, where a pop-up will then request for the “Google Doc Key”, which you can get from the google excel link.
    • For this story in particular, the GDocs Key is “1a_z7CNBQ3-g4YgDCe4dVJWyY4PmjCGTwteofuS5gWagImage (10).jpgImage (11).jpgImage (12).jpg
  3. Select the relevant columns, and click “Create”Image (13).jpg
  4. Then proceed with building your story with 4 simple Steps:
    • Prepare

Image (14).jpg

    • Visualize

        Image (15).jpg

    • Compose

           Image (16).jpg

    • Share

           Image (17).jpg

Feel free to try on the story that I have created using Lumira:

  1. Please fulfil the pre-requisite to enable the Data Access Extension
  2. Download the Lumira file (*.lums) from the following link:
  3. Refresh the data to get the most recent 6 hours data.

What can you do with Lumira?

I have just demonstrated how easy to grab data from website and visualize it with Lumira. You can take advantage of this and simply by;

  1. Extract data from any source, put them into an excel sheet
    1. Visualize company expenses
    2. Visualize time spent on work and many more,
  2. Visualize and build a story for your visualization with Lumira!


Though there are some limitations when it comes to building story with Lumira (for example, report can only be refreshed on a daily / weekly / yearly basis), but I would say that it is a tool with great potential for data discovery as it requires very short learning curve (it took me about half a day to understand and put things together) and its friendliness is definitely a great advantage for anyone!

Last but not least, for those who are viewing this in Malaysia / Singapore / Indonesia, do take care and always keep yourself hydrated with tonnes of water.

Enjoy “Storying” with Lumira!

Assigned Tags

      You must be Logged on to comment or reply to a post.
      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member

      Great job, Leonard!

      Love how you use our open source library to make sense out of government data! Thanks for endorsing Lumira, and - stay thirsty, my friend 😉

      Author's profile photo Annie Thornton
      Annie Thornton

      Nice work, Leonard!

      Way to acquire data using our open source Google Docs data access extension! Great results! 🙂