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API Autocomplete


The autocomplete API is a Backend service that returns a list of the suggestions most likely to complete an initial input.

The API is based on a principle of REST (Representational State Transfer) access, but since it only deals with searches, only the GET method is available.


API root URL

All API calls start with the url:

Positioning URL

From the point of view of the consumer of the service, the segment "dic" (which indicates that you want to access a dictionary) follows. Finally, the identifier segment of the dictionary that you intend to use in the autocomplete.

At this stage, the available dictionaries are:


There are two use cases available for consumption:


/preftech ({dictionary id}/prefetch)

For the identified dictionary, returns a list of the most frequent entries. It can be invoked and cached in the autocomplete client.


?q=XXXX ({dictionary id}/?q={query_text})



Prefetch and lookup return arrays in JSON with objects that have the structure:

[ { c : ”AAA”, d : “BBBB”, t : “CCCCC”}, …]

In each element:

  • “c” contains the code;
  • “d” the designation to be presented as a suggestion;
  • “t” is a string of words separated by spaces that we will call tokens.

The order of the elements in the array reflects their ordering by relevance (the most relevant ones come at the beginning).


The basis for the construction of the Dictionaries (only available in Portuguese), beside the official coding lists (CAE Rev3, CPP 2010, CNAEF), is sourced from all the manual coding history of more than 30 statistical operations carried out over about 8 years within the scope of the Household Surveys. At the time, the total number of interviews conducted exceeded 600,000. All expressions (1) with a frequency equal to or greater than 10 and a coding consistency of 90% and (2) with a frequency equal to or greater than 5 and a coding consistency of 100% were considered eligible to enrich the classifiers. Then a metric distance was calculated between the expressions already existing in the classifier and the rest of the history. The Optical String Alingment - an extension of the Levenshtein measure - was used to calculate the distance at an interval of 1 to 3. After validation, the expressions that were equivalent in meaning, but distinct in spelling, were integrated into the dictionaries.

Dictionary Creation Schema

Figure 1- Dictionary Creation Schema


As mentioned, the API classifies expressions based on three nomenclatures

The SMI Version used for the classification of Occupation is: V02014- Portuguese classification of professions, CPP 2010 which can be consulted at:

The SMI Version used for the classification of Economic Activity is: V00554 - Portuguese classification of economic activities, revision 3 that can be consulted at:

The SMI Version used for the classification of Higher Education Courses is: V04477 - Higher Education Qualifications, 2020 (Courses - IINQE) which can be consulted at:

By providing this new API service to its users, Statistical Portugal complies with Measure #111 “iDataCode” of the iSIMPLEX2019 program and the SAMA2020 - POCI-05-5762-FSE-000193 program