Best practices

Service version: 2
Last edit: 2022.12.13


The following topics provide some helpful tips to improve your Search API query results.

Note: Constants and parameters enclosed in curly brackets { } must be replaced with their values.

Using geo-biasing with a lat/lon pair

In order to geo-bias your results to the relevant area for your user, you should always use a lat/lon pair to help bias the results to the user's location. Note, this is a non-restrictive bias, but for very common searches it will find the instances nearby. This query will find places with pizza around the lat/lon:

Lat/lon pair{Your_API_Key}&lat=37.8085&lon=-122.4239

Using radius

If geo-biasing is not strong enough for keeping your results local to the user, you can also pass in a radius (in meters) to restrict the result to a given area. For instance, this query will only find pizza within 1000 meters of the given lat/lon:


Using idxSet

You can also specify the exact set of indexes to query in the idxSet parameter. For instance if you are only interested:


The idxSet parameter value set of indexes that can be used are:

  • POI = Points of interest
  • PAD = Point Addresses
  • Str = Streets
  • Geo = Geographies
  • Xstr = Cross Streets (intersections)
  • Addr = Address range interpolation (when there is no PAD)

Note: If you are using more than one index, do not include any spaces between them in the comma-separated string.

Using a subset of countries

You can also specify a subset of the countries on the server by adding a comma-separated list of countries in the form:

Subset of countries{Your_API_Key}&countrySet=HR,CY,CZ,DK

(search for pizza in Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, and Denmark) See the TomTom Search API Market Coverage page for a list of all the countries supported by the Search API engine.

Using different response formats

We also support JSON or XML formatted responses.

Request example with a JSON response format{Your_API_Key}&lat=37.8085&lon=-122.4239
Request example with an XML response format{Your_API_Key}&lat=37.8085&lon=-122.4239

Using paging or infinite scrolling

If you would like to page your results or build an infinite scroll view for your search results, you can page results with limit and offset. The following query will produce results 21-30:


Finally, if you are interested in pure category search we have a special endpoint: Category Search. The following query will produce a category search for important tourist attractions:

Category Search tourist monument.json?key={Your_API_Key}&lat=37.8085&lon=-122.4239

Understanding a response

In a response, the query type can either be NON_NEAR or POI_NEAR_{X} where X is the name of one of the indexes, GEO, POI, PAD, etc. That is, POI_NEAR_GEO might be "coffee near san jose ca" or POI_NEAR_POI will happen for queries like "parking near sfo".

Also, when using the typeAhead feature, you might see non-concrete results coming back in the special form POI_NEAR_ENTITY, in which case you present the results to the user and they select one which fires a second query to get the concrete results. This is a very UI dependent feature.

Understanding a response summary

The following example uses JSON. Note: For your benefit, the code comments are preceded by // and are not part of the actual JSON.

JSON Response
2 "summary": {
3 "query": "TomTom", // echo of the query
4 "queryType": "NON_NEAR", // query type (explained above)
5 "queryTime": 38, // query time on server in milliseconds
6 "numResults": 10, // total number of result in this response
7 "offset": 0, // if limit and offset are being used for paging
8 "totalResults": 51, // total number of hits within the entire database
9 "fuzzyLevel": 1 // range of 2-4 indicating depth of strategies used
10 // to find matches, e.g. 1 means more accurate and 4 means less
11 },
12 "results": [
13 {
14 "type": "POI", // responses type (see table of types above)
15 "id": 50422, // non-stable id for this document (might change in subsequent release)
16 "score": 4, // score of this document relative to other scores in same response
17 "poi": {
18 ...