Company Search App

A telesales company were manually looking through Google maps to collect information about companies related to their client's businesses.

Using the Google Places API, I automated the process to use a keyword search in a specific location.

The Objective

We needed to cut down the amount of time spent manually collecting data.

Automating the process allowed the company to quickly produce a csv of leads for a client.

Less time searching meant more time to generate sales.

The Process

After researching the Google Places API, I settled on the radarsearch endpoint. This returns company information based on a keyword for a specific map point and the area around it specified in meters (up to 50,000m).

I designed a database to store the information about the search and then used the Yii2 framework to quickly scaffold an application based on the database.

It is against the terms and conditions of the API to store the returned information, so the database only stores the parameters of the search. This way, they can be used again in the future or edited to change the location or radius distance.

To make the search as easy as possible to use, the admin page uses a Google map. A click on the map drops the marker, which can then be picked up and moved around the map at will. A range slider changes the radius of the circle shown on the map around the marker which signifies the search area. A simple text input is used to enter the search term.

They often needed to conduct searches within specific postal areas, so a kml layer was added to the search map overlaying the postcode boundaries for easy searching.

Using a Google map to search the Google Places API

The Result

Hours of work were saved searching for possible company matches. Company lists can now be downloaded in seconds.

The results returned from the API were not only faster but also more complete.

Using the Yii2 framework and it’s code generation feature, the app was up and running in 2 days.