Zillow, the US real estate service, have released an awesome data set of neighbourhood boundaries for the US under a creative commons license.

Thanks to the Zillow boundaries we could add a new neighbourhood reverse geocoding service to our API. This neighbourhood web service returns the neighbourhood name, city name, county name and state name for a given latitude/longitude.

Zillow have aggregated the boundary data from online resources, chambers of commerce, tourism and convention boards as well as real estate agents.

Unfortunately they have not chosen the freest creative commons license, the cc-by license, like GeoNames, but have opted instead for the more restrictive cc-by-sa license. The share alike restriction will prevent people from improving upon it. GeoNames for instance cannot use it for their own database. While it is fantastic move by Zillow to release the boundaries, the sa restriction means the community will still need another dataset with a really free license. It is a pity since it will mean a duplication of efforts and reinventing the wheel. At the other hand I am confident that Zillow will change the license as the restriction does not stop their competitors from using it, it just hampers further development and Zillow would gain more without this restriction.

I am pleased to announce the integration of the Composite Gazetteer of Antarctica (CGA) with 18’104 places. The CGA is compiled by the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR) who have kindly given us the permission to use their data under the condition that we publish the disclaimer below. The CGA is itself an aggregator and includes data from 23 sources from 22 countries. 12’000 features are from US sources, Russia and the UK both contribute 4’800 places. Some places are contributed by several countries.

SCAR Disclaimer :

  • The SCAR CGA is a composite gazetteer and has no legal status.
  • The information in the CGA is that provided by national naming authorities to SCAR.
  • SCAR does not name any features, only SCAR member countries do.
  • The accuracy of the geographic coordinates (latitudes and longitudes) for the named features is unknown to SCAR, but SCAR is working with the national providers to improve them.
  • A third party with an enquiry about one of these names should always come back to the source of the data, that is SCAR.
  • The data would probably be adequate for most uses, but you should refrain from using it for showing information at a very detailed level

[Photos of Emperor Penguins thanks to NOAA Photo Library]

Live action Popfly tutorial

January 12, 2008

The Popfly development team have produced a funny tutorial over the holidays where the team members play the roles of the Popfly blocks (modules). In the video they create a facebook mashup to display facebook friends on Virtual Earth. GeoNames is used to geocode the friend’s locations.

GeoNames is a handy web service that will find the longitude and the latitude for a given location.

via go2web20 blog and John Montgomery

see also our blog posting on the initial Popfly release.

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