OpenCounter uses keywords and definitions to help users identify their land use in the municipal code. We find that many planning teams have a list of commonly requested uses, some of which are not always expressly defined in the muni code. How does your jurisdiction categorize a yoga studio? A co-working space? A cat cafe?
To help users match their use to what is listed in the muni code, we rely on several methods: 1) Making sure any definitions in your muni code are encoded as a uses description, 2) Using Alchemy, a machine-learning tool from IBM Watson that provides textual analysis and identifies synonyms, and 3) Entering any synonyms your team may have developed as keywords.
All of this helps ensure that user typing in "gym" will be pointed to the appropriate use in the muni code: "Fitness or health facility".