Tutorial for collecting POIs through Google Places API


  • Get API from Google Cloud Platform
  • Google Places API
  • Create Fishnet
  • Create Python script

1. Get API from Google Cloud Platform

  • Google Cloud Console
  • Create a new project
  • Choose APIs&Services/Library
  • Enable Places API
  • Create credentials (choose API key)
  • Set the restrictions

2. Google Search for Places API

Document for Google Places API can be found here. Google Places APIs allow users to query for place information on a variety of categories (See list below). There are two ways to search for places: proximity and text string. The APIs are Nearby Search requests and Text Search requests. Nearby Search requests allows to search for places within a specific area through supplying keywords or specifying the type of place.

A Nearby Search request is an HTTP URL of the following form: https://maps.googleapis.com/maps/api/place/nearbysearch/output?parameters where output may be either of the following values:

  • .json indicates output in JavaScript Object Notation(JSON)
  • .xml indicates output as XML

All parameters are separated using the ampersand (&) character

Required parameters

  • key — Your application's API key. This key identifies your application. See Get a key for more information.
  • location — The latitude/longitude around which to retrieve place information. This must be specified as latitude,longitude.
  • radius — Defines the distance (in meters) within which to return place results. The maximum allowed radius is 50000 meters. Note that radius must not be included if rankby=distance (described under Optional parameters below) is specified.
  • If rankby=distance (described under Optional parameters below) is specified, then one or more of keyword, name, or type is required.

Optional parameters

  • type — Restricts the results to places matching the specified type. Only one type may be specified
  • pagetoken — Returns the next 20 results from a previously run search. Setting a pagetoken parameter will execute a search with the same parameters used previously — all parameters other than pagetoken will be ignored.

Few key things about Nearby Search Request:

  • Maximum places per day from one account is 150000 POIs (according to second reference)
  • Result returned from Google are up to 20 each page.
  • When the number of result is more than 20, next_page_token will be given in the former page

3. Google Place Details API

Place details: to get the complete details we have to use another API endpoint. There is 3 categories for the fields parameter:

Basic: address_component, adr_address, alt_id, formatted_address, geometry, icon, id, name, permanently_closed, photo, place_id, plus_code, scope, type, url, utc_offset, vicinity

Contact: formatted_phone_number, international_phone_number, opening_hours, website

Atmosphere: price_level, rating, review

4. Create fishnet on ArcGIS

output the point shapefile of fishnet. Take London for example, the coordinates of London center is

#this is code for Google Places API
import requests # requests through url
import json
import time #to take a break

import xlwt
import xlrd

class GooglePlaces(object):
	def __int__(self, apikey):
		super(GooglePlcaes, self).__init__()
		self.apikey = apikey

	def search_places_by_coordinate(self, location, radius, types): # these are parameters for Google Places API
		endpoint_url = "htttp://maps.googleapis.com/maps/api/plcae/nearbysearch/json"
		places = [] #create a list to store all result from multiple pages
		params = {
		"location": location,
		"radius": radius,
		"types": types,
		"key": self.apikey

		# count the number of requests
		count = 0
		count_worked = 0
		for i in range(nrows): #nrows refers to the number of subareas in the fishnet
			lat = table.cell_value(i+1,1) #table.cell
			lng = table.cell_value(i+1,2)
			location = str(lat)+","+str(lng)
			#location = "51.526329,-0.139214"
			res = requests.get(endpoint_url, params = params) #requests.get(url,paramters)
			results = json.loads(res.content) #res.content()
			while "next_page_token" in results:
				params['pagetoken'] = results['next_page_token']
				res = requests.get(endpoint_url, params = params)
				results = json.loads(res.content)
			count += 1
			if count >100: #based on the maximum requests per day,60*100=6000
		return results
	# def get_place_details(self, place_id, fields):
	# 	endpoint_url = 'https://maps.googleapis.com/maps/api/place/details/json'
	# 	params = {
	# 	"placeid": place_id,
	# 	"fields": ",".join(fields),
	# 	"key":self.apiKey
	# 	}
	# 	res = requests.get(endpoint_url, params = params)
	# 	place_details = json.load(res.content)
	# 	return place_details

#read fishnet file
xlsxdata = xlrd.open_workbook(r'/Users/qxy/Desktop/fish_points500_label_wgs.xlsx') #读取fishnet生成的点文件
table = xlsxdata.sheet_by_name("points500_label_wgs")
nrows = table.nrows #表格总行数

if __name__ == '__main__':
    api = GooglePlaces("YOUR KEY") #here is my API key
    places = api.search_places_by_coordinate(location, "100", "restaurant")
    fields = ['name', 'formatted_address', 'international_phone_number', 'website', 'rating', 'review']
    for place in places:
    	details = api.get_place_details(place['place_id'], fields)
    	try:#sometimes, the value for some field is empaty, so we need to use try
    		website = details['result']['website']
    	except KeyError:
    		website = ''
        name = details['result']['name']
	    except KeyError:
	        name = ""
	        address = details['result']['formatted_address']
	    except KeyError:
	        address = ""
	        phone_number = details['result']['international_phone_number']
	    except KeyError:
	        phone_number = ""
	        reviews = details['result']['reviews']
	    except KeyError:
	        reviews = []


Haifeng Niu
PhD Candidate

Haifeng Niu is a PhD candidate in Lab of Interdisciplinary Spatial Analysis at the department of Land Economy, University of Cambridge. His main research interests cover urban big data mining, data-driven analysis for urban planning & policy and simulation of urban dynamics.