Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

PlaceFinder Frequently Asked Questions

General Questions

What is PlaceFinder?

PlaceFinder is a geocoding web service. It accepts input in various formats, including street addresses and place names, and return geographic coordinates for matching places. These coordinates can be used to define the center of a map, or mark a location on a map.

When will PlaceFinder become available to external developers?

PlaceFinder was launched on 22 June 2010. Developers may use the web service immediately thereafter.

What documentation will be available for PlaceFinder?

Information about PlaceFinder will be found on the Yahoo! Developer Network (YDN) website: http://developer.yahoo.com/geo/placefinder. A user guide is available at http://developer.yahoo.com/geo/placefinder/guide. A support forum is available at http://developer.yahoo.net/forum/?showforum=124.

Can anybody use PlaceFinder?

PlaceFinder will be initially available only for non-commercial use. A YDN Application ID (see https://developer.apps.yahoo.com/wsregapp/ ) is required to access PlaceFinder. Usage will be limited to 50,000 requests per Application ID per day.

What will happen to the Yahoo! Maps Web Service - Geocoding API?

The Yahoo! Maps Web Service - Geocoding API (see http://developer.yahoo.com/maps/rest/V1/geocode.html ) will continue to work until the end of 2010. Existing developers using this API should migrate to PlaceFinder before this API is turned off. New developers who need geocoding capabilities should use PlaceFinder.

How is PlaceFinder different from the existing Geocoding API?

PlaceFinder is a global geocoder. It supports street-level geocoding in over 75 countries, and place geocoding around the world. PlaceFinder also provides a reverse geocoding feature that allows developers to find the nearest address or city for a geographic coordinate, and a startswith feature that allows developers to find cities whose names begin with the same letters. Results include centerline and offset geographic coordinates; formatted and parsee address information; ISO codes for countries, states, and counties; address quality; area radius; place WOEID and type. Optional results include nearest commercial airport, telephone area code, timezone code, bounding box, detailed street name components, nearest cross streets, and containing neighorhood(s). PlaceFinder also returns results in over 10 languages (when available) to enable the development of localized applications.

PlaceFinder also supports the JSON format for results in addition to XML and Serialized PHP formats.

What countries does PlaceFinder support for street-level geocoding?

PlaceFinder supports street-level geocoding in over 75 countries in six continents (sorry, Antarctica), including United States, Canada, Mexico, Europe, Russia, India, Taiwan, Middle East, South Africa. For an up-to-date list of supported countries, check http://developer.yahoo.com/geo/placefinder...orted-countries.

What languages does PlaceFinder support?

PlaceFinder supports over 10 languages, including English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch, Chinese, Japanese, Korean. For an up-to-date list of supported languages, check http://developer.yahoo.com/geo/placefinder...orted-languages.

What must I do to modify my application to use PlaceFinder?

PlaceFinder is not backward compatible with the Geocoding API. You will need to make some minor changes in your application in order to use PlaceFinder. You can continue to use the same Application ID you used with the Geocoding API.

Most of the Geocoding API parameters are supported by PlaceFinder. The output parameter has been replaced by a flags parameter value. The default format is still XML. Providing the P flag will return results in Serialized PHP format. Providing the J flag will return results in JSON format. The location parameter can be used to provide place names or codes for airports, parks, schools, counties, states, countries, continents, and colloquial places (like SF Bay Area).

The PlaceFinder results are also slightly different from the Geocoding API results. The ResultSet field contains several new subfields, such as Error and Found. The Result field has many new subfields, including radius, woeid, and woetype. The precision attribute has been replaced by the quality field. The Address subfield has been replaced by the line1 field. The line1, line2, line3, and line4 fields provide a formatted address that can be displayed to users.

Additional information about migrating from the Geocoding API to PlaceFinder will be available in July 2010.

Can PlaceFinder be accessed via YQL?

PlaceFinder is not yet integrated with YQL. We are working to provide PlaceFinder functionality to YQL developers in the near future.

API questions

What is free form input?

Free form input is address information that is represented in a single line. Mailing addresses that normally require multiple lines are concatenated, using whitespace or punctuation to separate each line. Supported punctuation include commas, colons, semicolons, and slashes.

What is multi-line input?

Multi-line input is address information that is represented using multiple lines. Mailing addresses that normally require multiple lines can easily be passed as separate parameters.

What is parsed input?

Parsed input is address information that has been parsed into separate components, such as house/building number, street name, city, state. As a convenience, the street name component may include a house/building number.

What are points of interest (POIs) and areas of interest (AOIs)?

A point of interest (POI) is a place that is not normally identified by a mailing address and has a small geographic footprint. Schools, museums, and monuments are represented as points of interest.

An area of interest (AOI) is a place that is not normally identified by a mailing address and has a large geographic footprint. Parks, lakes, and seas are represented as areas of interest.

What is address quality?

Address quality is a measure of the value of a returned result. It defines the granularity of the location returned and indicates how the result was obtained. It is an integer between 0 and 99 with higher values indicating finer granularity.

Why are there two parameters containing flags?

The flags parameter contains flags that affect how the results are presented (e.g. JSON format) or filtered (e.g. Timezone). Using these flags will not affect which results are returned or the service response time (latency).

The gflags parameter contains flags that alter the way geocoding is performed (e.g. exact matches only) or require additional processing time (e.g. nearest cross streets). Using these flags may return different results and increase the service response time (latency).

What is a WOEID?

A WOEID is a unique permanent identifier for a named place. A WOEID allows developers to distinguish Paris, France from Paris, Texas without using text comparison. WOEIDs never change and are supported by numerous Yahoo! web services, such as Flickr and Weather. WOEIDs are not assigned to buildings unless they have a well-known name (such as Empire State Building or Tower of London).

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