In “Ten Web 2.0 APIs you can really use” over at linuxworld.com Evan Prodromou, one of the two founders of wikitravel.org, lists ten useful Web2.0 APIs :
1. Google Maps API
2. Geonames.org
3. OpenID – Six Apart
4. Amazon S3 – Simple Storage Service
5. Amazon EC2 – Elastic Compute Cloud
6. Atom API
7. OpenSearch – Amazon A9
8. Open Media Profile – Six Apart
9. MediaWiki API
10. JS-Kit

He writes about geonames : “I prefer the data from Geonames.org, which has a simple REST service for geocoding names, finding locations close to each other, and some other great geographical backend calculations. The Geonames database is one of the best available, based on multiple data sets, and it uses a liberal Creative Commons Attribution license for its data output. It’s also quick and responsive.

The clear winner in terms of number of APIs on this list is Amazon with three services, followed by Six Apart with two APIs. Amazons strong position is undoubtedly deserved since it offers by far the most innovative and outstanding suite of web service APIs available today.

Around 10.000 Brazilian populated places and all 5.561 municípios have been the subject of the latest geonames bulk update. The data set is from the Instituto Brasileiro de Geografia Estatística (IBGE) and has kindly been provided by Edmar Moretti from the Ministério do Meio Ambiente.

Brazil is a federation consisting of twenty-six states (estados) and one federal district (distrito federal), making a total of 27 first order administrative divisions. There are 5.561 second order administrative divisions or municípios. Minas Gerais (MG) is the state with the largest number of municípios (853) and Roraima (RR) has the lowest number (15). The Distrito Federal has only one município.

The records of this load have been locked for updates by the anonymous user as IBGE is definitely a trustworthy data source.

If you know about interesting free data sets from your country, please let us know. We are eager to integrate them.

Kolossos has drawn a Feature Density Map with the GeoNames data set. The bright parts of the map show high density areas sporting a lot of features per km² and the dark parts show regions with no or only few GeoNames features.

Dense regions are Bosnia Herzegowina (1.008 features per km²) , Germany (0.447), North Korea (0.318), Pakistan (0.154) and the east coast of the US.

Geonames Feature HeatMap

The dark spots mainly indicate unihabited areas and it is thus interesting to compare the Feature Density Map with the Population Density Map compiled by NASA in 1994 :

It shows that India (0.0114) and China (0.0113) have surprisingly few GeoNames features compared to their high population density.

The source code and a large image is available on wikimedia.org.

[more geonames feature statistics]

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