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I'd like to build a list of popular points of interest and tourist attractions for many/every city in the world. Is there any sort of dataset that I can use for this which either contains only popular attractions, or something like the OSM data with a popularity index that I can filter through myself? Open or Free is preferable.

I've tried playing with FourSquare's API, but it is against their TOS to save any of their data for longer than just caching. It was also common for things like a Starbucks to appear in the list of most popular locations, but this wouldn't be too troublesome to work around. (I guess because more people want to check-in at Starbucks than a Museum).

I'm looking through OSM at the moment, but there doesn't seem to be any indication of the popularity or importance of a POI. The tags are nice, but not very helpful to me if there is no way to differentiate Disney World from a touristy taco-shack.

Thanks in advance for any help or direction.

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Have you tried Geonames? They keep a global database of POIs. I took a quick glance at it and was able to download the most recent dump as a .txt and then opened in QGIS as a tab delineated file. Be patient as it is a large file (1.06 gigs) and will take some time to render. As far as I can tell I cannot find a popularity index associated with the data but it would be a good start for a worldwide POI dataset.

  • Thank you, I have been using the Geonames dump for its alternate names and translations. It's such an amazing resource. But you have just made me remember that each POI has a feature code, perhaps I could use this to filter the POIs, and then I could find the popularity of items on this smaller dataset in some other way. – user35186 Jul 31 '14 at 15:30
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    can you please tell what did u search on Geonames to get the global database of POIs? Or can u pls share the link for this? @cbunn – Shana Jul 15 '20 at 7:24
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Some European cities attractions are collected by http://www.itouristmaps.com - there already few German, Italian, Turkish and GB cities with their names and coordinates. All POI are available for downloading in KML (Google Maps and others) or GPX (Garmin) file formats

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If you are still looking for a suitable data for this, try Sygic Travel Places API

It provides a global POIs database tailored for travel industry - the places are ranked by popularity and you can get the most popular attraction in each city with just one API call.

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You can try the Leads deposit POI data provider. Not sure about global places but I know they provide data for the US.

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