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.

3 Answers 3


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:


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: https://github.com/windy1/google-places-api-java

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!

  • 2
    But the Google place Data are under copyright license
    – Julien
    Commented Mar 10, 2014 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:



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

  • 1
    Could you provide more detail on how to use Foursquare to get contact info of only legally-operating businesses?
    – RCA
    Commented Mar 7, 2014 at 23:25
  • You can use the search endpoints of foursquare api to get contact details of the venues - developer.foursquare.com/docs/venues/search
    – surana90
    Commented Mar 11, 2014 at 18:15

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.