MasterCard Places API Helps Build Location-Driven Apps

MasterCard has released the new MasterCard Places API, which allows developers to build intelligent location-driven applications using MasterCard Places data. The Places API is powered by what MasterCard calls "near-real-time, aggregated, anonymous transaction data." The new MasterCard Places API is available in the U.S. and is rolling out geographically, becoming available in other countries in the coming months.

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Image credit: MasterCard

The popularity and use of location intelligence has grown rapidly in the last few years thanks to the availability of easy-to-use geographic analysis tools and the immense popularity of digital mapping platforms. Location intelligence refers to the analysis of data using geographical information systems technology to discover meaningful insights from the geographical relationships found in most information. Objects such as businesses, points of interest (POI) and geographic regions are analyzed, along with their spatial attributes.

The MasterCard Places API provides POI location information from all MasterCard-accepting locations (there are tens of millions of MasterCard-accepting locations). The U.S. Places data set contains all locations that accept MasterCard in the United States. Information that can be retrieved using the Places API includes:

  • If the location is a new business
  • When a new location opened
  • If the location is still in business
  • When a location went out of business
  • List of merchants in the area (input ZIP code, address, etc.)
  • Open and close times of the location
  • Industry categories within MasterCard, such as restaurants, gas stations and retail
  • A variety of merchant attributes

ProgrammableWeb reached out to Mario Shiliashki, senior VP of MasterCard Open API, who provided a lot of information about the MasterCard Places API and the upcoming MasterCard Masters of Code Competitions, which will be held in cities around the world throughout 2015.

One of the primary uses of the MasterCard Places API is with mapping libraries and GIS platforms. Shiliashki told ProgrammableWeb that mapping is one of the applications that the company had in mind for the Places API. The API is capable of providing the latitude and longitude for locations as well as addresses, ZIP codes and other location-related data. The API also includes some information from MasterCard’s location API and all attributes in the U.S. Local Favorites Restaurants API. The MasterCard Local Favorites Restaurants API provides insights as to which restaurants are favored by residents as well as which restaurants are indicated as "hidden gems" (restaurants that only residents know about).

Shiliashki told ProgrammableWeb that trending information will be made available via the Places API in the near future. Trending information will generate insights such as location popularity, seasonality, frequented by locals and other trends. This information can be used for location analytics and visualized using interactive charts and graphs.

Shiliashki said Places was originally a bulk data set but has been made available programmatically via API. MasterCard offers a variety of bulk data sets that the company is gradually converting to APIs so that the information is in real time and programmatically accessible. All of the MasterCard Open APIs support OAuth 1.0a and return responses in XML format. Shiliashki said one of the company’s live projects is updating the APIs so that they support OAuth 2.0 and are able to return responses in JSON format. JSON support is scheduled to start rolling out in the next few weeks. He also said that OAuth 2.0 support will take a little longer, but will be available in upcoming weeks.

He continued:

PLACES harnesses the power of the unparalleled data and insights of the MasterCard network globally to bring developers and partners merchant insights that can be useful in endless number of applications. Like all MasterCard APIs, the Places API is built on the foundation of more than 47 years of technology innovation in payments and commerce. When developers choose to construct with our API products and platforms, they have the assurance they’ll be using the most advanced solutions available to bring their project the infrastructure and insights it needs to help it differentiate and scale.

MasterCard is hosting Masters of Code Competitions throughout 2015 in select cities around the world where developers can build innovative applications using MasterCard APIs. Participants will have a chance to win a grand prize of $100,000 cash to develop their application into a potentially successful business. The Masters of Code Competitions are open to anyone who wishes to participate.

"More than just the $100,000 prize money or the glory of being named Masters of Code champions, the winner of this series receives something even more valuable — MasterCard's investment, support, mentorship and vast partner access to help bring the winner's product idea to life and scale it as a real business on a global scale," Shiliashki told ProgrammableWeb.

For more information about the MasterCard Places API and the other available open APIs provided by MasterCard, visit developer.mastercard.com. For more information about the MasterCard Masters of Code Competitions, visit mastersofcode.com.

Janet Wagner is a technical writer and contributor to ProgrammableWeb who covers breaking news, in-depth analysis, and product reviews. She specializes in creating well-researched, in-depth content about APIs, machine learning, deep learning, computer vision, analytics, and other advanced technologies.
 

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