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At one point I had an idea for a localized web site specifically focusing on a single city. I spoke to several people within that city's government, and it was clear that there was no one single place that kept easily accessible and update-to-date contact information on all the businesses legally operating in the city limits. The closest I came was the chamber of commerce listed all members on their Web site, but these were members only.

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I would look into Google Places API for this. You have to register for an API key and the quota is limited to 100,000 requests a day (plus some multipliers on some requests), but it's a rather verbose database.


Here is a request URL to get all "food" places within 500m of the specified latitude-longitude that has the word "harbour" in it:,151.1957362&radius=500&types=food&name=harbour&sensor=false&key=AddYourOwnKeyHere

The response is JSON so you will need to do a little parsing unless you use their JavaScript API or use some other wrapper.

If you're using Java, I actually developed my own Java wrapper around this API which I believe successfully maps the API 1 to 1 if it fits your purposes:

With this library you can just do something like:

GooglePlaces client = new GooglePlaces("apiKey");
List<Place> places = client.getNearbyPlaces(lat, lng, radius, GooglePlaces.MAXIMUM_RESULTS);
for (Place place : places) {

Hope this helps!

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But the Google place Data are under copyright license – Julien Mar 10 '14 at 14:20

If the city or county has an open portal it is likely they will have a business license dataset. Otherwise, I would contact the "Revenue/Licensing" department for the City and request a copy in electronic format.

I have a catalog of government open data portals at this link. There are 38 US Cities in the list:

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You can use the search endpoints of foursquare api to get contact details of the venues -

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Could you provide more detail on how to use Foursquare to get contact info of only legally-operating businesses? – Rebecca Ackerman Mar 7 '14 at 23:25
You can use the search endpoints of foursquare api to get contact details of the venues - – surana90 Mar 11 '14 at 18:15

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