Unlock Places is a place search web service. Its API helps developers to find locations for place names. You can use it to convert postal codes into coordinates, to look up electoral boundaries, and to find shapes that overlap or intersect one another.
Unlock Places can provide geographic information describing places - or gazetteer data - as points (latitude-longitude coordinates) or larger bounding boxes and more detailed shapes, where we have access to those kind of data sources
The service references several different data sources to search a global list of places with more in depth coverage of the UK from the Ordnance Survey. Here is a list of our current data sources. We're always happy to add more datasets to Unlock, if a couple of people ask, so get in touch with requests! That goes for feature requests, too.
How to use Unlock Places
Unlock Places can be used in your web project, app or mobile information service. Have a look at the getting started page to see how you can integrate it into your work. The example queries offer a wider idea of what you can do with the API, and the API Documentation tries to gather it all in one place.
Unlock Places at Work
Here are some projects and services that are already making use of the service:
- The Archaeology Data Service and the Molly Mobile Portal Project use Unlock to search for locations of UK postcodes
- The GoGeo data catalogue and Georeferencer use Unlock to search for locations of place-names