A Basque region gives its public data to Geonames

March 21, 2007

Gipuzkoa is a territory in northern Spain, with its own parliament, part of the autonomous region of the Basque Country. It’s located in the westernmost part of the Pyrenees, bordering the Atlantic Ocean, in the borderline between France and Spain. It’s surface is around 2,000 km2 and nearly 700,000 inhabitants.

The geographic data of the region has just been greatly enhanced in Geonames. Nearly 250 locations have been corrected (moved to exact positions, and official and alternate names have been added, mostly in Basque), and other 750 new records were added, populated places most of them. The data set is from the Provincial Council of Gipuzkoa, the local administration, and has been kindly provided by the officials in charge of the local public Spatial Data Infrastructure (SDI), the B5M office, as it is called there.

Previously, Gipuzkoa’s places looked like this in Geonames:

A regular distribution pattern of some scarce populated places, due to rounded coordinates of old gazetteers. And only Spanish names appeared, despite Basque forms being the official ones for 20 years or so. Now, that region appears like this:

More places, updated Basque official names show first (Spanish names haven’t been deleted, they remain there as alternate form), and exact locations. In the case of municipalities, for instance, latitude and longitude are those of the town hall.

This addition follows the path of another public data upload we had recently, that one from Brazil. It is encouraging when public administrations decide to share their data openly, as in these cases. At the same time, this is the way to avoid embarrassing situations like outdated data appearing in online maps, as the Hitler-berg case shows. If you know about interesting free data sets from your country, please let us know. We are eager to integrate them.

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

Many thanks for this update to Luistxo from Eibar, Spain. Luistxo is a big help for geonames in particular with Basque place names and minority languages.

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5 Responses to “A Basque region gives its public data to Geonames”


  1. I am very glad with this, Marc. I just brokered the contact, convinced B5m about the utility of open data and Geonames, and Geonames about the interest of the data provided. There are other wikipedia-like Geographic sites out there, but for me, Geonames is the Wikipedia of geography.

  2. Mikel Maron Says:

    Congrats guys!

    Luistxo .. any possibility of road data for OpenStreetMap??


  3. Hi, Mikel… if we just could push them a little bit, not only that, also ortophotography at 17 cm per pixel, all postal addresses (80.000 homes) geocoded, all building shapes… Look, the street I was born recreated as a directory: http://b5m.gipuzkoa.net/kaletegia/eibar/bidebarrieta
    or the place where they sell icecream in the beach:
    http://b5m.gipuzkoa.net/kaletegia/donostia-san_sebastian/ondarreta_jd_de (click on the little map)

    I’m confident. Open minded people, and true geohackers. We’ll try to broker that, be sure.


  4. [...] The naming ‘Ambassador’ has been inspired by the Tagzania Diplomatic Service where it was coined by Luistxo who also serves as GeoNames Ambassador to the Basque Country and Gipuzkoa. Thanks to Luistxo’s local contacts we have already been able to integrate an official data set from Gipuzkoa. [...]


  5. [...] todos los colaboradores que pueda conseguir, entre los cuales, tenemos algunos muy relevantes como Luistxo de [...]


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