Introducing the Places service
The Places service is a new and valuable ArcGIS Platform capability providing developers with a ready-to-use option for incorporating richly attributed, global points of interest (POI) data into their custom applications and solutions.
Today, I’ll give you an overview of the Places service and describe some key benefits:
- Supports valuable applications for users across industries
- Global coverage
- Regularly updated data describing more than 1,000 types of places
- Flexible query capabilities and attractive pricing
- Clear documentation and samples to get started quickly
Places data and its applications
POI are a type of places data which describe specific point-based locations on a map. POI, and places data in general, can be a valuable source of location-based context for users across industries in applications supporting mapping, analysis, and decision making. Some current and emerging applications include the following:
- In mapping and local search for locating and understanding what’s nearby. For example, users of consumer travel apps may want to know what amenities, like restaurants, parks, and other attractions, are nearby their lodging options.
- In market analytics where, for example, places can describe potential customers, competitors, suppliers, and distributors in a solution for retail site selection.
- In data science where places data can provide context in modeling and analysis workflows. For example, places data can be used in analytic modeling, machine learning (ML), and artificial intelligence (AI) applications alongside other context to describe, explain, predict, or even make recommendations based on the models/inferences. In property insurance underwriting, this could be a solution to predict future claims based on previous claims history and proximity to certain types of places.
In future posts, I’m planning on covering some of the example applications described above (so bookmark this!). For the rest of this post, I’ll focus on describing the new service and how you can get started today.
ArcGIS Platform Places service
Since the Places service supports coverage for more than 170 countries and regions, you have the flexibility to create applications for areas of interest around the world.
The service currently supports more than 1,000 categories of places. While other offerings may only focus on commercial/retail places, Esri’s service also supports public places such as court houses and transportation hubs, and places in the natural landscape such as mountains and lakes.
And with a hierarchical category system (see diagram below), you have a lot of flexibility on how you target your searches—from general categories (e.g. all “Dining and Drinking” places) all the way to very detailed/specific categories (e.g. just “Szechuan Restaurants”).
On top of that, each place can be associated with more than one category. This can be very useful for working with places such as collocated businesses. Here are some examples:
- coffeeshop within a supermarket
- public restaurant within a hotel
- convenience store (corner shop) which is a part of a gas (petrol) station
All these valuable characteristics of the supported categories represent additional business value because they contribute to the flexibility of the service to address a wider variety of your customers’ needs and opportunities.
To see what categories are supported, check out the online Places category finder.
Our places data are primarily based on supplier data from our partner, Foursquare. Their data are derived from various sources including more than 14 billion monthly check-ins from their consumer-facing apps, SDK partners, feedback from businesses, web crawls, and other third-party data sources.
We also have dedicated Esri data engineering and testing teams which handle data intake, QA, production, and releases so you can focus more of your valuable time and resources on creating impactful applications rather than worrying about sourcing, licensing, processing, and hosting data.
We currently support quarterly global data updates, and we’re ramping up to support more frequent releases.
QUERYING THE PLACES SERVICE
The Places service supports simple and flexible query options for searching for and getting details about places.
SEARCH FOR PLACES
The first search option (near-point endpoint) queries places (see response) within a ring-based search area around a point location on a map. You can also include a ring radius, a list of place categories, and search text as optional filtering criteria.
The second search option (within-extent endpoint) queries places (see response) within a rectangular search extent. For this second search option, you can also include a list of place categories and search text as optional filtering criteria.
If any records match your query criteria from either search option, up to 20 records and their standard fields (see responses) can be returned with each request, and you will be metered for a single search transaction.
GET PLACE DETAILS
If your users want more information about a place than what is included in the search responses, you can easily obtain additional place details.
Each returned record will include a persistent identifier—an Esri Place ID (PlaceId). Submit it alongside your list of desired fields (requestedFields) to the places endpoint to obtain (if available*) additional place details. Here are some examples of what you can obtain:
- Additional map coordinates describing the drop off location
- Detailed address information
- Description, opening hours, contact info, ratings, and other detailed context
* If your requested fields are available and returned for the place you specified, you will be metered once for each of the parent groups containing your requested fields. (Note: You will only be metered once for each group whether you request 1 or 10+ fields from that group.)
And due to the many characteristics of places data, including its plethora of underlying sources to support global coverage, not every field may be available for every place returned from your search requests. So, if all of your requested fields from a group are not available, you will not get metered for that group.
These options give you more control and help manage costs by giving you the flexibility to only request the fields you need and when you need them.
The pricing for the Places service is simple and transaction based with a monthly free tier.
Current licensing prohibits storage and reuse.
If you have any pricing questions, please contact your Esri account manager or the Esri Data & Location Services team.
Empower your users with on-demand location-based context by integrating the Places service into your custom applications and solutions today.
- Sign up for a free ArcGIS Developer account
- Create and manage an API key and configure it with the Places location services scope
- Review the Places service topic and tutorials and REST docs, and start creating valuable apps and solutions for your users!