POI Database 101: Everything You Need to Know Before You Buy or Build

July 11, 2023

Any business that wants to use location intelligence to gain insights and advantages must have a POI database. But how do you acquire this data? You can build your own database or buy or license one from a vendor. This is a critical decision that can impact the performance and success of your company. In this blog post, we'll explain why buying vs. building is so important and how to choose the best option for your company.

Why Buy vs. Build Matters

A POI database is a collection of data about places of interest, such as businesses, landmarks, attractions, and amenities. It can include various attributes about each place, such as name, address, category, phone number, website, opening hours, ratings, reviews, and more. Additionally, a POI database can also include spatial information such as coordinates, boundaries, and distances.

There are numerous location intelligence applications that can use a POI database, including:

●   Geocoding: converting addresses to coordinates and vice versa

●   Geofencing: creating virtual boundaries around places and triggering actions when users enter or exit them

●   Geotargeting: delivering personalized content or ads to users based on their location

●   Geosearch: finding places near a location or matching certain criteria

●   Geonavigation: providing directions and routes to places

●   Geovisualization: displaying places on a map or other graphical interface

●   Geoenrichment: adding contextual information to places or users based on their location

●   Geospatial analysis: performing spatial queries and calculations on places or users based on their location

A POI database can provide valuable insights and benefits for businesses, such as:

●   Enhancing customer experience and engagement by offering relevant and convenient services based on location

●   Increasing operational efficiency and productivity by optimizing workflows and resources based on location

●   Improving marketing effectiveness and ROI by reaching the right audience at the right time and place

●   Gaining competitive advantage and innovation by discovering new opportunities and trends based on location

However, not all POI databases are created equal. The quality and freshness of a POI database can vary significantly depending on the source, method, and frequency of data collection and update. A poor-quality or outdated POI database can lead to inaccurate or incomplete results, which can negatively affect the performance and reliability of location intelligence applications. Moreover, it can have different coverage and granularity depending on the scope, scale, and level of detail of the data. A too-broad or too-narrow POI database may not meet the needs and objectives of a business.

POI Database

Therefore, choosing the right option for acquiring a POI database is a critical decision that can have a significant impact on the success and sustainability of location intelligence applications.

Build a POI database: Pros and Cons

To create and keep a POI database, one needs to gather and manage the data on their own, either by using their own resources or by hiring some external. This process can have both advantages and disadvantages, such as:


●       Full control and ownership of the data source, method, format, and frequency

●       Customization and tailoring of the data to specific needs and goals

●       Quality and freshness assurance by applying own standards and criteria

●       Privacy and security protection by following own policies and regulations


●       High cost and effort to collect, clean, verify, and update the data regularly

●       Challenges and complexities of data collection and management

●       Risks and uncertainties of data availability, accuracy, completeness, and timeliness

●       Maintenance and update of data infrastructure and technology

Buy a POI database: Pros and Cons

Buying a POI database means purchasing or licensing the data from a third-party provider, either as a one-time transaction or as a subscription service. This option also presents some pros and cons:


●   Time and resource savings compared to collecting and maintaining your own data

●   Expertise and experience of the provider in data collection and management

●   Scale and scope of the provider’s data collection and management processes

●   Data infrastructure and technology of the provider


●   Expensive: especially when it comes to frequent updates or high accuracy.

●   Less control and ownership of the data source, method, format, and frequency

●   Limited customization and tailoring of the data to specific needs and goals

●   Quality and freshness uncertainty by relying on the provider’s standards and criteria

●   Privacy and security issues by following the provider’s policies and regulations


Your business’s future depends on a key decision: whether to build or buy a POI database. This decision can influence your success in the competitive and fast-paced location data market. You need to pick the best option for your use case, budget, and resources. You must also ensure the quality, control, and security of your data. A hybrid solution might be an option too, where you use a third-party provider’s data to enhance your own data collection and management. With a better understanding of all the different options and their pros and cons, it will be easier to choose the right one to boost your business! 

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