Feature Requests

City value from coordinates

IS there any webservice or feature which will give me the city value for the passed coordinates. Currently, the FCC API returns FIPS Code for the coordinates, is there a way to send this FIPS code and get the city value back, any ideas, thoughts will be highly appreciated.


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  1. Comment
    ( Moderator )

    If you use the FCC API to return the FIPS code, you can thereafter use the Census API and pass the 'place' fips code and state code and request the NAME parameter.

    As for 'cities', the Census Bureau breaks geography down in a very specific way. At the place level there are incorporated places, CDPs. These are what people may refer to as 'cities'.

    You might also find some of our Tiger Services useful:


    Let me know if this helps.

  2. Comment
    ( Moderator )

    For example, this will give me all places in MD


  3. Comment
    Community Member ( Idea Submitter )

    Thanks for your suggestions. I understand the above link gives me the whole list of places of a State. But what i need is, i have a fips code for a coordinate, and i want the city value for the coordinate. For example the below is the coordinate I pass to FCC API:


    Result I got is:


    How do i pass the FIPS to census API and get the city value back for this coordinates, thanks again for your help in this.

  4. Comment
    Lisa W
    ( Moderator )

    That's a great question. But it assumes that coordinates are always within something that is designated as a place (a city, town, etc.). This isn't always the case. Check out the TIGERWeb resource noted above and it may offer a solution but without a place FIPS code, the data API wouldn't be able to provide you with a name. In the example above, there is just a state and county FIPS for Loudon (51107). Does the FCC API ever return a place or is it always a county value returned?

  5. Comment
    Community Member ( Idea Submitter )

    FIPS: 511076110053000

    The FIPS is a combination of state fip plus county fip plus 6 digigit TractID plus 4 digit blockID.

    The Fcc Api never returns FIPS for a place, but we can derive the 6 digit Census Tract 611005 from the Block. There should be someway of relating this Census Tract to a place name and that is what I am searching in the REST webservices provided by Tiger, which is very confusing and hard to understand how to query.

  6. Comment
    Community Member ( Idea Submitter )

    Thanks. but Google is a paid API for business, I am looking for some free reverse geocodinng which gives me city name.

  7. Comment

    Code For America just announced a service that sounds like what you need: http://census.codeforamerica.org/ It includes places among other summary levels in a query based on given coordinates. Some summary levels are not included, but right now they have " state, county, place, cbsa, zcta510 (zip codes), tract, bg (block group), and tabblock (tabulation block)."

  8. Comment
    Community Member ( Idea Submitter )

    thanks very much. as its required for our data validation, i also need to know the consistency of the website which provide the API -- like uptime, downtime, maintanence etc.,

  9. Comment

    If you need uptime and maintenance guarantees, you should be prepared to pay for the API. You can't expect a free service to maintain professional grade support.

  10. Comment
    Community Member

    Cannot determine if question is resolved. All census places are defined as a set of census blocks. You can use the SF1 geo record (not on API) to equivalence the FCC block geocode to the census place code/name.

  11. Comment

    I wonder if providing API access to the Census Relationship files (http://www.census.gov/geo/maps-data/data/relationship.html) would be beneficial to this.

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