Places (Search) API Developer's Guide

Why use the Places (Search) API?

The HERE Places (Search) API provides a simple, future-proof way to grant your application's users access to the latest information about tens of millions of places all over the globe.

By using the Places (Search) API, your application gains several crucial advantages, including:

  • Coverage
  • Reduced application complexity
  • Forward-compatible API contract

Reduced Application Complexity

Collecting and — even more importantly — maintaining facts about tens of millions of places, while simultaneously attaching useful and up-to-date information from various sources to them, is a challenging task. Without the Places (Search) API, you would have to spend an enormous amount of your resources just to collect, validate, standardize and maintain this data.

But having the data is only one side of the story. Once you have the data, you have to match this data against your user's more or less arbitrary queries--which is further complicated by the many possible interpetations of those queries. By taking implicit context information into account, you then have to find the few matches (ideally: the one) most relevant to your users in their specific application context.

Unless your core business is being a local search engine, it is quite unlikely that you want to invest the massive amount of resources required to build a reliable place based search and discovery feature.

From the top down, the API comes with a set of features that make it very convenient for you to ignore such concerns and embed our results in the best possible way into your application's UI.

We have already dealt with subtle yet critical questions like:
  • What is the correct way to format addresses in Finland?
  • How can I get images in sizes optimized to my UI?
  • What is the most concise textual representation of a place's opening hours?
  • What is the best graphical representation for a place on the map?
(and many others) so that you can focus your resources on the core domain of your application. .

Forward-Compatible API Contract

Because the nature of places in the real world are constantly changing, the API contract of the Places (Search) API has been carefully crafted to reflect such fluidity. Although you will already find a huge amount of valuable facts and information about places through the Places (Search) API, you should consider this as just a starting point.

The API contract is designed in a way that allows us to introduce additional elements at any time, without being forced to introduce a new version of the API contract. Even more importanly, when you follow the guidance and best practices described in this document, your application user's will also automatically receive access to those new features without you being forced to build and ship a new version of your application.

For more information on this central feature, see Prepare for Extensibility.

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