A location referencing API for e-commerce companies has been developed by interns in the first round of hotels.ng’s remote internship program which kicked off in August 2016.

Led by Hotels.ng developer, Olayinka Success, the API was developed to define a new addressing format for locations across the country. The idea involves using a string of characters to tag a location be it a building or an entire region. So for example, NG-LA1600-OD-01 might be the code for an exact building in Lagos while the string NG-AK31UY would represent the entire region of Nigeria > Akwa Ibom State > Uyo > Uyo Urban.

The location referencing API will help users to easily pinpoint every physical location with corresponding coordinates. It will enable places without postal codes to be easily located and all physical addresses will be linked to each other via their unique code making navigation more accurate. The API is currently released in alpha as an open data project – the location information is free and open to all to download, modify and fix.

“The product is still in its very early stages and it can only get better especially through collaborative efforts. We cannot possibly provide every address so we need people to contribute. People can actually suggest new addresses and flag those that might be wrong and need corrections.” says Olayinka Success.

The team says that the many challenges identified in the e-commerce sector in Nigeria influenced the development of the API. Usually, deliveries are fulfilled using descriptive landmarks but customers still have to endure telephone calls from dispatch riders asking for directions. This often ends up in failed deliveries resulting in increased delivery costs. I can see the API being very useful in the ride-hailing sector as well. Imagine a world where your Uber driver never calls to ask for directions.

The API can currently be previewed at locations.hng.tech.

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