Autocomplete an address

Get a list of autocomplete matches based on a single (partial) address term. Depending on the input different types of matches may be returned, such as streets, postal codes or a specific address.

This method is intended for interactive address entry where a user enters (part) of an address and matching suggestions are shown. Depending on the matches a user may keep typing, or may select a match after which additional input can still be entered.

The matching algorithm takes into account possible typos as well as missing or irrelevant words.

Required session header

Both the autocomplete and getDetails methods require a custom HTTP header named X-Autocomplete-Session to be specified. Its value should identify a single address completion session (for example, one user filling out a checkout address) and remain the same for calls to both methods.

The value should be at least 8 characters and at most 64 characters long and contain only alphanumeric characters, "-", "_" and/or ".".

We recommend using a (hash of) the session-header that identifies your user-session and pass it to us directly for all requests triggered in that session. Generating new session identifiers for each request or reusing the same for completing more than one address is not recommended as it may lead to increased costs for your account.

The term and context parameters

Both the term and context parameters determine what results are suggested. They must be used correctly in order to prevent bugs in your implementation. For example, when a user selects a suggestion the next set of results might not contain the desired results.

First, make sure to correctly encode your parameters.

Secondly, make sure to provide the correct term parameter for a given context.
The autocomplete provides matches based on the current input. In order to select a match and drill down further, another call to the autocomplete method should be performed. For example, a user enters a street name and then selects the top suggestion to see specific addresses for that street. For the second call to the autocomplete: specify the context of the selected match, and use the 'value' of the selected match for the term parameter. Do not modify the value, or strip off any white-space. If the term parameter does not match the specified context, the drill down will not work as intented.

URL template

The REST API requires GET requests. Parameters are added to the REST resource URL, and each parameter must be URL-encoded:

https://api.postcode.eu/international/v1/autocomplete/{context}/{term}/{language}

Example REST request

Retrieving /international/v1/autocomplete/bel/vlaamsegaai with the proper authentication would use the following HTTP Request:

GET /international/v1/autocomplete/bel/vlaamsegaai HTTP/1.1
Host: api.postcode.eu
Authorization: Basic 2eTpkU******…
X-Autocomplete-Session: f60c42561f8f5a6d7cc

Example response

The lookup is successful so we receive a 200 OK status in the headers:

HTTP/1.1 200 OK
Content-Type: application/json; charset=utf-8

And a JSON response in the body:

{
  "newContext": null,
  "matches": [
    {
      "value": "9320 Aalst, Vlaamsegaaistraat ",
      "label": "Vlaamsegaaistraat",
      "description": "9320 Aalst",
      "precision": "Street",
      "context": "bel3erZ25b6KdtUzzxMVdclyv5VIBsLUFPjeAvLk0j9x1XG6ACtQiVSF7O6iKUNWstqjMCHFtKFnqy3UUG4oZQ58Koaebzsy10eeZf0CTnA9yBTwkirbkLWznS1cHJNkwwFDm",
      "highlights": [[0, 11]]
    },
    {
      "value": "3080 Tervuren, Vlaamsegaaienlaan ",
      "label": "Vlaamsegaaienlaan",
      "description": "3080 Tervuren",
      "precision": "Street",
      "context": "bel3erZ25b6FxlO2NYYDUVFSy9ljtSGAlR7pgybRTpV9kqYIi2vEOUoEpHvvZWQ4PL8PKwwTLANMdlu7A2uLDtPPEeNcwvsmlSJbpL45PnKxd4fvKgxd73LikUU5Y6KTDoZh9",
      "highlights": [[0, 11]]
    },
    {
      "value": "Vlaamsekaai, ",
      "label": "Vlaamsekaai",
      "description": "(2 municipalities)",
      "precision": "None",
      "context": "bel83WXCGfTGvfqyDG8ZsUYy22ZbrYkJRsapHabS7TptJC8xmNjgOUxre8A71AVv",
      "highlights": [[0, 7], [8, 11]]
    }
  ]
}

Parameters

context: string

The autocomplete context. Specify a lowercase 3-letter ISO 3166-1 Alpha-3 country code to start a new address search. When a user selects a match, subsequent calls to this method should provide the context for the selected match.

term: string

The address search term. May be a complete or partial address. When a user selects a match, use the exact and unmodified 'value' field of the selected match for the term parameter.

language: string or null

The language to use for the presentation of search results, specified as an IETF language tag (e.g. 'nl', or 'nl-NL'). Supported languages are: en-GB (default), en-US, nl-NL, de-DE.

Returns

newContext: string or null

New context that is required for further autocomplete requests. Null if no context update is required.

matches: struct[]

List of matches for the specified context and term.

Hide child parameters
value: string

The value represents all matched address information. If the user selects this match the current term input must be replaced with this value.

label: string

Label describing this match. For example, a street or municipality name.

description: string

Additional information relevant to this match, helps with disambiguation between similar labels. For example, a postal code associated with a matched street.

precision: string

Match precision, used to know what type of address information is available. E.g. "Locality", "PostalCode", "Street", "PartialAddress", "Address"

context: string

If the user selects this match, use this as the context parameter in subsequent autocomplete call. Contexts may expire and should not be stored.

highlights: array[]

List of [start, end] character offsets to highlight in the label in order to indicate what was matched.