Announcing Yahoo! PlaceFinder

PlaceFinder iconToday we announce the public release of Yahoo! PlaceFinder, a REST Web service that provides consistent multi-language global geocoding of named places.

PlaceFinder supports building-level address recognition in over 75 countries, and points of interest, airports, cities, and other place names (including administrative areas) for these countries and the rest of the world.

In addition to supporting free-form, single-line, and multi-line address inputs, PlaceFinder also supports queries that include cross streets, WOEID, and IATA airport codes. And for the first time from Yahoo! Geo Technologies, PlaceFinder also supports reverse geocoding (give it a longitude/latitude coordinate and get back the nearest address).

PlaceFinder replaces the Yahoo! Maps Geocoding API. But do not fear if you are using this service: The Yahoo! Maps Geocoding API will continue to be offered until the end of 2010. Information about migrating to PlaceFinder will be available in July.

It is important to note that no functionality available in the existing Geocoding API will be lost. PlaceFinder is all upside. And, don’t forget, there is always the developer Forum, where you can ask any questions that our documentation doesn’t address.

PlaceFinder gives you up to 32 response fields (as compared with up to 9 response fields for the existing Geocoding API). These elements and sub-elements are available:

  • WOEID
  • Neighborhood
  • Time Zone
  • Area Code
  • Locale Code
  • Bounding Box Coordinates

So, PlaceFinder not only provides the coordinate keys to visualize your place data on a map, it also provides a rich set of attribute data that enables a range of other location-based applications. Most fundamentally, it provides the Where On Earth ID (WOEID) that provides full and open access to a world of place discovery beyond the basic coordinates. WOEIDs are supported by other Yahoo! APIs, such as Yahoo! GeoPlanet, Flickr, and Weather.

We will be adding a PlaceFinder table to YQL in the near future, so developers can combine address geocoding with other location-aware services like Weather and Flickr in a single request.

Meanwhile, you can use the YQL Console to filter for and view existing Geo community tables.

We invite you to try out Yahoo! PlaceFinder. We think you'll like what it can do for you.