Why it's so difficult to search a city with AlgoliaPlaces?

Hello :slight_smile:

I’m a big fan of AlgoliaPlaces, it’s a amazing system than I integrate in my data-manager to help my team to search addresses, countries, cities, etc. It’s work good, but for Cities it’s actually not simple at all.

My goal is to provide an autocomplete of cities, I don’t want the autocomplete to show multiples districts on the cities, I don’t want the famous places or others stuffs; only cities. For that, I looked the example of City Search on your documentation; but still: When I type Paris, City Search return me the city and all districts, and it’s look like I don’t have any way to know what result is the city, and what results are the districts to separate them.

Also, when I type New York, I receive the city of New York then the Manhattan Community Board 1, 2, 3, etc. Same for districts of London, etc, etc.

How can I show only the cities?
Thank you!

Hi,

Unfortunately, this is a current limitation of Algolia Places, mostly due to how large cities function and are represented in OpenStreetMap.

Large cities are often split into multiple districts which are functioning somewhat independently with a larger community council that coordinates actions between the different districts. Therefore, both districts and the city are municipalities and should be considered as such.

For instance, both Paris and the 10ème arrondissement de Paris have a city hall and have specific responsibilities in which the other cannot interfere and which fall under the responsibilities of a municipality. As such OSM considers districts such Manhattan Community Board 1 as a city in the same way it considers New York as a city.

Another challenge here is that some users will be looking for the larger city, while others will be looking for the districts, so we can’t remove one or the other.

That being said, we are looking for ways to improve our processing so that we can better handle these specific cases but I don’t have any ETA or roadmap to share on that issue.

Best,

Hello, thank you for the answer.

However, I’m very surprised because, on OSM I think than we have a clear distinction between districts and cities, a city has a type: place:city and a district has a type: place:suburb, here for example with Paris 10ème arrondissement.

Thank you again for your help,
I hope we will have progress there, it’s a very important subject for my company :slight_smile: .

For France, we combine OSM data with BAN data, as it has a higher quality coverage. Unfortunately, the BAN considers all arrondissement in Paris to be different cities.

Hi,

Just wondering if this is still the case?
I’m trying to find a solution to this…

Hello,

Yes the status is still the same. I implemented a solution based on the major city names (Paris, London, New-York, etc) to fix the main cases, but it’s globally still very difficult to search only cities with Algolia Places.

Hi! Just wondering if anybody got a way to solve this problem or if somebody has any suggestion for it.

Hello,
Unfortunately no, I still don’t have any good solution for this problem, the solution I currently implemented is to keep a list of all “synonyms” of the cities name, something like that:

{
	"country/fr": {
		"Paris": ["Paris 1e Arrondissement","Paris 2e Arrondissement","Paris 3e Arrondissement","Paris 4e Arrondissement","Paris 5e Arrondissement","Paris 6e Arrondissement","Paris 7e Arrondissement","Paris 8e Arrondissement","Paris 9e Arrondissement","Paris 10e Arrondissement","Paris 11e Arrondissement","Paris 12e Arrondissement","Paris 13e Arrondissement"],
	},
	"country/gb": {
		"London": ["Cité de Londres","Londres","London Borough of Barking and Dagenham","Barking and Dagenham","London Borough of Barnet","High Barnet","Barnet","Ealing","London Borough of Hillingdon","Hillingdon"]
	}
}

If anyone is interested, tell me and I will share my list of cities / cities names synonyms on a public Github.