Venues Platform

The Foursquare Venues Platform makes it easy to build location information into applications without requiring deeper Foursquare integration or authentication. Select partner mappings are retained in Foursquare's database and made available to other developers, making it easy for third parties to link to them.

Venues Database

The Venues Database lets developers use Foursquare as their location layer. We'd like you to think of Foursquare's venue database as your venue database and our API as the interface you use to interact with it. The API lets you search our database and find information including tips, photos, check-in counts, and here now. Searches can be done near a point or through a whole city, and they can be restricted to trending or recommended places. The platform offers all of this without requiring end user authentication and is available at high rate limits (5,000 requests per hour, with more available on request by email to api@foursquare.com).

The platform enables a range of applications that previously required developers to contract with data providers and maintain a geospatial database. Foursquare's results are constantly updated by our awesome users, and they're ranked by social relevance.

Partner Venues Harmonization

Our harmonization project allows third parties to map our database to the corresponding partner database—thereby allowing developers to find Foursquare venues associated with third-party venue IDs more easily. See our Venue Harmonization Mapping Guide for more details.

Venues Database Usage Rules

Using Foursquare’s venues database is one of the most popular ways developers interact with our platform. We love it when people use Foursquare as their location database, but there are some basic rules everyone has to follow. We like to think of our policy as “you can do basically what you want, except...” Some of what’s below are these exceptions.

In General

  • You are free to use Foursquare’s location database directly as your location database.
  • When you use our platform, provide proper attribution.

Retaining Location Database Information

As per our retention policy, you’re allowed to cache data you receive from our API, so long as it is refreshed appropriately. Foursquare data changes frequently! We require this so that your users won’t see stale information.

  • An exception to this is venue IDs—these don’t change very often, so refreshing less frequently here is acceptable. Sometimes venue IDs will "change" because of venue merging, although the original ID should still work and resolve to the new venue.
  • A good technique for keeping your data up-to-date is by always updating your cached data whenever you receive a response from us.

Don’t cache or otherwise save Foursquare location data for the purpose of building or enhancing your own internal or independent location database. You should be using Foursquare as your database.

Other Data & Foursquare

You’re allowed to display Foursquare location data with information sourced elsewhere, but be very clear to attribute the data that’s from Foursquare. There should be no question about what information is from Foursquare and what information is not.

You are mostly free to combine and display Foursquare location data alongside your own data or media.

  • Don’t use your own data if it is basic information about a venue—use Foursquare’s venue information instead. If you find that our information is incorrect or out-of-date, please make changes to it through venues/edit or venues/proposeedit. Feel free to use your own data if it is not something that these two endpoints allows you to edit.
  • If your own data includes photos or tips, please consider contributing them back to the community!

Don’t combine or aggregate Foursquare location information with location data from other sources (including your own) to create, modify, or save to your own “super” location database (e.g., a database that has both Foursquare and Google Places data).

Scraping

“Scraping” is doing something like running a dedicated, external process to systematically query and save information from Foursquare (except for the purposes of updating your caches).

You’re not allowed to scrape from our location database. However, we do understand that sometimes some light scraping of our location database will enhance your application, so we may consider scraping where the volume of objects you’re scraping is less than 1,000.

Prefetching

We understand that “prefetching” venue search results will sometimes make your application’s experience better, but please do so responsibly. If we find that your prefetching is too aggressive or your call volume isn’t appropriately proportionate to the number of impressions on the search results, we will ask you to reduce your call volume. Only you can prevent needless API calls!

Display of Venue Data

While the API may return many results in a response, your integration may not display more than 4 tips or 4 photos from the same venue simultaneously. For example, if you have a screen that’s dedicated to showing a list of tips, this list (including any pagination) can only be 4 items long. If you'd like your users to see more tips or photos at a venue, your application should link to Foursquare venue pages, where they can also do things such as like tips or save the venue.

Redistributing Foursquare Data

  • You’re not allowed to sell, rent, or transfer any Foursquare location information.
  • You’re not allowed to transfer any Foursquare location information to an ad network, ad exchange, data broker, or other advertising or monetization related toolset.
  • For other redistribution inquiries, contact api@foursquare.com.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I save Foursquare location data?

Saving... caching... it’s mostly just semantics, isn’t it? Please see the section on retaining location database information.

Can I license your location database or otherwise download it?

We typically don't allow this and encourage developers to interface with our data through our publicly exposed API. However, if you find that this isn't meeting your needs, reach out to us and we will see if a discussion about alternative arrangements makes sense.

Can I combine my own special or proprietary information about [salons, saloons, etc.] with Foursquare location data?
  • See the section on Other Data & Foursquare. Again, the general rule is that if it’s something that Foursquare doesn’t already provide, you’re within the bounds of our policy.
  • However, every venue should come from Foursquare. You are not allowed to maintain your own repository of venues alongside those from Foursquare—you should be using us as your sole location database. If a venue is not on Foursquare, you should add it.
  • For specific questions, please contact api@foursquare.com.
When my users can’t find a venue on Foursquare, can I prompt this user to add the venue to my own database?

Doesn’t it seem a bit silly to do all this work to maintain your own location database when you’re already using Foursquare’s location database? Your user should add this unknown venue to Foursquare itself instead.

Can I grab location information from Foursquare, Google, Facebook, etc. and combine it before I show my users?
  • You can show information from these kinds of sources side by side, so long as the data from Foursquare is in its original form and clearly attributed to us. As a rule of thumb, a user should be able to point to any piece of data on the screen and clearly be able to say “Oh, this is from Foursquare” or “Oh, this is from Google.”
  • Don’t use our data to produce some sort of “meta” or aggregate ranking where the original data from Foursquare is obfuscated or non-obvious.

For any questions about caching longitudinal data, redistribution of data via your own API, or anything else not mentioned here, please contact api@foursquare.com.