A commercial version of our popular web services is now available to everybody. The commercial web services offer faster response time and higher uptime than their free siblings and come with two types of service level agreements. We recommend that professional users and mission critical applications upgrade to this premium service.

The GeoNames web services are incredibly popular and the growth rate is amazing. We regularly serve over 10 million requests per day. Donations, however, don’t keep pace with this increase and we will have to limit the number of requests per IP address on the free servers to be able to keep up with the exponentially growing demand. By the end of February this limit will be 100’000 credits per IP address and by the end of March it will be 50’000 credits. Luckily we have an alternative for heavy users with the commercial web services announced above. The credits policy accounts for the fact that not all web services generate the same load on the server. For most services a request equals one credit, some reverse geocoding services are more expensive whereas others like gtopo30 are less resource intensive and cost a fraction of a credit only.

Spot Image, a leading provider of satellite imagery, are making a fantastic offer. Spot Image are teaming up with GeoNames to help improve the availability of free geographical data and offer high resolution 2.5m satellite imagery for automatic feature extraction.

Features that we think can be extracted from 2.5m imagery are city contours, airports, streets, shore lines, lakes, rivers and others. We believe this is a fantastic opportunity for researchers and student-works to find algorithms for feature identification and extraction. Drop me a line for more details if you are doing research in this area and would like to work on this challenging task.

Contact : Marc Wick, marc@geonames.org

The data extracted from satellite imagery will be made available through GeoNames. Up to now GeoNames was exclusively focusing on point data due to the lack of good and free vector data. The extracted features will allow us to provide vector data and we will be able to include shapes of cities and other features into the GeoNames database. It will be a gigantic step forward for the availability, quality and coverage of free geographical data on global scale.

[Image : Spot Image Quality ZoomifyViewer Casablanca, Morocco]

Spot Image, based in Toulouse (France), are providing satellite imagery to GoogleEarth and they are selling images to professional and private users. If you are looking for images of a particular area you can use this gallery layer on GoogleEarth to view and find relevant images. As an example the 2.5m image from 24. Sept of Barcelona.

NGA Update

February 15, 2008

In the last days the newest GNS release (2008-01-28) has been integrated into GeoNames. The GNS dataset is maintained by the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency, a US department of defense support agency.

During this load we have updated 73’000 and inserted 44’000 new toponyms. We have only updated records that have not been modified by GeoNames users or other sources. With the next load we plan to merge the data on attribute level and compare the NGA change history with the GeoNames change history and update attributes that have not been touched. There are usually not many conflicts with other modifications or sources as the NGA has a completely different focus. The countries with the highest number of modifications or inserts in this release are Iran, Taiwan and Peru. Detailed numbers are in this forum posting.

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