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Placecast, a company that lets retailers send mobile advertisements to nearby shoppers, today announced that it’s releasing free tools that should help various location-based systems communicate. making its available for free. The tool is positioned to help correct a looming problem that is multiple references to the same location across the variety of location-based systems.

Services such as Foursquare or Gowalla each have different location databases and use a variety of ID systems to tag individual locations. Placecast’s Match API will help location providers and application developers to translate referenced locations across databases and match them to one true location.  A developer, for example, who tags a location may reference it with a different name than another developer, but with Placecast’s Match API both locations will be recognized as the same (see image below). Automating the process of matching locations will free up time and let services focus on monetization.

The company’s announcement explains:

The Placecast Match API resolves the two worst problems of working with large location-based data sets. First, it disambiguates addresses – identifying that all of the different ways to express the address of a location do in fact refer to the same place on the planet. Second, it maps all the relevant IDs from different content providers to that same place on the planet, so that it is always referred to correctly by any other system. The system has already been pressure-tested for scale: the Placecast Match API has been in place for more than a year and has already processed millions of location records worldwide.

Several location-based services, including WCities, Urban Mapping and Buzzd, have agreed to test trial the API. If you’re interested in testing  you can sign-up here.

The announcement comes just after Placecast landed $3 million more in second round funding from investors Quatrex Capital, ONSET Ventures, and Voyager Capital. Placecast has now raised $12 million.

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