New Factual Resolve API Will Help Clean Up, Complete Location Databases

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Open data platform Factual.com is launching a new API for developers of location-based services called Resolve. The API is an entity resolution API that makes partial records complete, matches entities against one other and assists in the process of de-duping and normalizing datasets.

What this means is that developers can simply tell Factual what they know about an entity (i.e., a venue in a place database) and it will fill in the missing pieces (e.g., the category, the latitude/longitude info and venue’s address). At launch, Resolve will be available only for Factual’s list of U.S. Places, but the company hopes to expand Resolve globally in the future.

Resolve is one of those under-the-hood type launches that is going to make many engineers’ lives much easier. To use, a developer sends what they know about a place to Resolve as a GET request with the attributes included as JSON-encoded key/value pairs.

The API then, well…resolves the request by looking at all the possible candidates in Factual’s dataset and returns a solid match (if one can be identified) and all of the missing attributes.

A couple of companies are already using Resolve, including daily deal API provider Sqoot and restaurant menu platform OpenMenu.com. Sqoot uses Resolve to convert the business name and address within a daily deal to a geo-referenced entity, and provides users with the most hyperlocal and geo-relevant deal recommendations possible. Meanwhile, OpenMenu uses resolve to identify restaurants in Factual that match those in Factual and then pushes this info on to Factual’s Crosswalk API.

Crosswalk, another Factual Places API, tells you the URL and ID of a place in up to 40 other third-party namespaces including Foursquare, Urbanspoon, Citysearch, Yellowpages, Yahoo, AllMenus, Yelp, Zagat, Chow, Gowalla, InsiderPages, MenuPages, Menupix, SimpleGeo, Superpages, Explore To, Fwix and others.

Documentation on how to use the newly launched Factual Resolve API, including examples and requirements is available here.