ChainXY Alternatives for More Complete and Flexible POI Data

ChainXY’s logo, alongside those of other companies that sell point of interest data

A key to market analysis is to know what big brands are present in a particular area, and whether they will compete with or complement your business (or neither). That’s the philosophy behind ChainXY, a company that sells data and analysis tools for keeping tabs on popular retail chains around the world.

So how well does that match up with the approach your company needs to take to scouting trade areas? To answer that question, we’ll look at ChainXY’s strengths and weaknesses, and then compare those of similar services to help you find the right point of interest data provider. Here’s a summary of our agenda:

  • What is ChainXY?
  • 8 Things to Consider in a ChainXY Competitor
  • 8 ChainXY Competitors for Greater Coverage and More Flexibility

In case you aren’t very familiar with ChainXY, we’ll start by giving a short overview of the company.

What is ChainXY?

ChainXY is a data vendor with a focus on point of interest data about retail stores, restaurants, and other commercial POIs. It also has a suite of analytics tools that can be used to assess proximate POIs, see what types of businesses are lacking in an area, and track store openings and closings.

Furthermore, ChainXY’s analytics platform features a two-way feedback function for users to suggest the addition of new location entries or corrections to existing ones. The company caters mainly to analysts for retail chains or real estate companies who are looking to conduct trade area research.

8 things to consider in a ChainXY competitor

So how do you evaluate whether ChainXY is a good geospatial data provider? Or how it stacks up against similar companies, for that matter? Based on our experience in the industry at SafeGraph, here are eight important factors to keep in mind when exploring your options.


Why it matters


Your company needs to fit purchasing or licensing data within its budget, and it shouldn’t be paying for more data than it needs.


Depending on your organization’s use cases, it may only need data for certain countries or territories, or for certain types of places. Or it may need a wider breadth of data to look at international trends in different industries. Find datasets that cover the geographies and categories your business is (or could be) interested in.


Don’t forget to consider data depth, as well. Data with fewer attributes – or lower fill rates for attributes – may not give your company all the information it needs. This can necessitate finding extra data to fill in what’s missing, often needlessly costing your business time and money.


A dataset’s accuracy is critical to its value for your organization. POI data that has incorrect attribution, or multiple records referring to the same place, costs your company in terms of having to scrub the data yourself or replace it with cleaner datasets. It can also cost you in terms of inaccurate analysis and loss of customer trust if the problem isn’t fixed.


POI data can change more often than you might expect, especially if your organization is trying to manage a large-scale database. Check to see how often a vendor updates its datasets; longer update intervals mean a greater chance that data might no longer be correct by the next time it’s reviewed.


It’s hard to get value from data if you don’t have a solid understanding of what it actually represents. A dataset that has thorough supporting documentation will help your company interpret the data correctly and apply it to cases where it’s actually relevant.


Data tends to be more useful if you can get it all at once, where you need it, when you need it, so your business can analyze or apply it as a whole. Having to get it piece-by-piece from multiple downloads or API calls generally isn’t all that practical.


Even the best data in the world won’t be all that helpful for your company if the provider’s terms of use disallow using it for your intended application(s). Be sure to check the licensing agreement on a dataset before your organization buys or otherwise acquires it, as you’ll want to avoid the legal implications of using data in a way that was explicitly not intended.

As far as ChainXY goes, its data is reasonably priced, and is easy to access because it’s offered in a variety of file formats. Also, a premium subscription gives full access to the data, as well as a suite of analysis tools, making this option even more cost-effective.

ChainXY’s main weakness is its limited scope. Despite having global POI coverage, it only tracks stores from the most notable brands. That means its data is missing smaller brands and independent businesses, as well as non-commercial POIs. In addition, the data is updated every three months, which leaves a significant amount of time for it to become stale and inaccurate. Finally, ChainXY’s licensing terms only allow its data to be used internally within a company; its data generally can’t be used to power consumer-facing applications.

8 ChainXY competitors for greater coverage and more flexibility

If your organization needs data on points of interest beyond just big-brand stores, there are plenty of options out there. Many of them also have more relaxed terms of use, giving your company greater freedom in how it uses any data it gets from them. Here are 8 examples.

1. SafeGraph

Sample of SafeGraph Places data, organized in an Airtable
Source: SafeGraph

Pricing: $$

Free trial: Sample data available

Best for: Affordable and accessible data that’s more complete, fresh, and flexible

Like ChainXY’s data, SafeGraph’s Places data is affordable and conveniently accessible on a number of different platforms. However, it covers more types of POIs than just big-brand stores, including independent retailers and “point POIs” (e.g. ATMs, transit stops, EV charging stations, and vending machines). It’s also updated monthly, so it’s significantly less likely to be missing newly-opened places or containing outdated information. Furthermore, our flexible licensing terms allow your organization to use our Places data for a greater number of applications.

2. Google Places

Sample of Google Places data around the San Diego Museum of Art
Source: Google Places API

Pricing: $$$$$

Free trial: No

Best for: POI data with decent scope and accuracy that includes images and social sentiment

Already well-known for its search engine, Google has expanded its operations into the geospatial data realm with products like Google Maps, Google My Business, and Google Earth. Google Places is its API that allows companies to tap into its database of point of interest information.

While this database has global reach, and contains elements like crowdsourced reviews and streetside imagery, its licensing terms only allow for a limited range of uses. Two other common complaints are that its data attribution is somewhat shallow, and that the data has become extremely expensive to use as of pricing changes in 2018.

3. Foursquare

Geotagging a photo with Foursquare Places
Source: Foursquare

Pricing: $$$$

Free trial: No

Best for: Global POI data with optional social sentiment from people who have visited places 

Foursquare was formerly a company that made mobile applications, such as Swarm and Foursquare City Guide, for crowdsourcing reviews and travelers’ tips on points of interest. Foursquare now sells enterprise-level geospatial datasets, but still includes this extra user-contributed information from its apps.

This social sentiment can be valuable in some use cases, especially when Foursquare tracks over 100 million points of interest across over 200 countries and territories worldwide. The data is very expensive, though, and many of Foursquare’s featured data attributes cost extra money to access.

4. AggData

AggData table showing datasets by brand, record count, location, freshness, and cost
Source: AggData

Pricing: $

Free trial: Sample data available

Best for: Affordable data on big-brand store locations in specific countries and territories

AggData is quite comparable to ChainXY: it focuses on stores for major brands; it offers a subscription service for full data access; and its data is relatively inexpensive. Its datasets are organized by country/territory and brand, so it’s possible to focus on specific geographies and chains.

However, the data doesn’t include some useful contextual attributes, such as NAICS codes, hours of operation, or building footprints. Also, AggData’s datasets can have wildly varying freshness – anywhere from a month to three years since one was last updated.

5. Data Axle

A sample page from Data Axle of a company’s information
Source: Data Axle

Pricing: $$$$$

Free trial: Yes (30 days)

Best for: Very in-depth information on points of interest in the US and Canada

Data Axle’s POI data covers nearly 17 million points of interest, though only in the US and Canada. What Data Axle lacks in data scope, though, it more than makes up for in data depth. Each point of interest has over 400 attributes associated with it, and Data Axle has contact information for over 150 million people across all businesses it covers.

Unfortunately, Data Axle’s data is rather costly, especially considering quite a few POI attributes require upgraded accounts or add-on packages to access.

6. OpenStreetMap

Landing page of OpenStreetMap
Source: OpenStreetMap

Pricing: Free

Free trial: No

Best for: Geospatial data that’s free to license and use, but requires coding know-how

OpenStreetMap has become a popular solution for POI data because it has no upfront monetary costs. Licensing data simply requires crediting OSM and its contributors, as well as using said data under an identical license.

The tradeoff is that OSM’s data and map making tools can be difficult to access and use without some experience with programming languages. The data is also contributed and maintained on a by-and-large voluntary basis, so its accuracy, attribution, and documentation can be inconsistent. So OSM’s data can still have costs associated with it, in terms of the time and work needed to merge and clean multiple independent datasets.

7. Precisely

A point of interest data layer from Precisely overlaying a map of Boston, Massachusetts
Source: Precisely

Pricing: $$$

Free trial: Sample data available

Best for: Data with global coverage and granular attribution that’s easy to access and work with

Precisely is a company that’s more often recognized for its data management solutions. It does have a portfolio of geospatial data, though, tied together by the PreciselyID location identifier for easy interoperability between datasets. The data itself has fairly good scope and completeness,  and is available in multiple file formats so it’s easy to access.

Its accuracy is iffy, though, for two major reasons. First, the data contains a fair number of duplicate entries, which will have to be merged or cleaned up to make sure each location your organization is looking at is unique. Second, like with ChainXY, the data is only updated every three months. So there’s a greater chance some places will newly open, change, or close between updates, leaving your company to do the manual work of correcting this out-of-date information.


Example of HERE Geocoding & Search API being used to find electric vehicle charging stations
Source: HERE Technologies

Pricing: $$$

Free trial: No

Best for: Strong search/filter/sort options and data attribution, priced for smaller businesses

HERE makes point of interest data easy to work with because it has deep data management functions and attribution. So if your organization wants to find things like electric vehicle charging stations, all the Mediterranean restaurants in a city, or a place along a logistics route, HERE makes it simple to find those things.

HERE’s POI data spans over 120 million places in 100 countries and territories worldwide, though only about half of those regions are indicated to have complete coverage. HERE gives a generous amount of free credits for accessing its data, but the data is fairly pricey once those credits run out. So it’s a better option for smaller operations, but doesn’t scale up very well. 

Get robust, complete datasets with flexibility on licensing

Tracking big brands in a trade area is an important first step in performing market analysis for your organization. But it often doesn’t tell the full story, especially if a region has popular local independent retailers. And not knowing where a region’s non-commercial points of interest are robs your company of valuable contextual information that may help to explain why some businesses are more popular than others in a region. For instance, local transportation systems could be set up in a way that makes certain stores more convenient to access than others.

We believe it’s better to have a POI data solution that covers many different types of places so your company can see the bigger picture. We believe that point of interest data should be revised as frequently as possible, so your business can spend more time putting it to work and less time fixing missing or outdated entries. And we believe data should have flexible licensing terms, because every company is different and thus will want to use the data in different ways. That’s the philosophy behind our Places dataset. If that resonates with you and your organization, get in touch with us today to see how we can help.


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