The GeoNames web service client for java has been released in version 1.0. The release includes the following changes and additions :

  • implemented children and neighbours service
  • throw exception if a field is accessed that has not been set due to insufficient style parameter
  • add adminname1 and adminname2 to Toponym
  • fixed a couple of minor bugs
  • added and improved documentation
  • support for username and token for authentication
  • client failover to alternative server if the main server is not accessible. The failover server will be used for some minutes before the client will automatically try to switch back to the main server. This is a simple and efficient approach to achieve high availability for an application.

The Semantic Web, the web of data, is coming of age and making it recently into main stream news coverage. GeoNames was among the first to offer a geographical ontology and RDF web services and GeoNames is also part of the Linked Data project. The Linked Data project brings together data from public sources and builds a web of open and free data where data sets are interlinked with each other. Geographic concepts are referred to using the GeoNames URI with the unique GeoNames Identifier the geoNameId.

[Image : Projects involved in the Linked Data project (Feb 2008, Richard Cyganiak)]

Tim Berners-Lee has written an interesting blog posting about how a misquote from the Times interview spread over the web and could not be stopped. (He also mentions GeoNames.)

GeoTree is a new hierarchical toponym browser for GeoNames. It allows to drill down the continents and the administrative divisions of a country in an explorer like fashion. To the right of the tree view a map shows the toponym selected. An outstanding component of GeoTree are the flags and coat of arms displayed with most administrative features. The coat of arms are from the wikipedia Blasons (heraldry) project. Moving the mouse over the name of an administrative division will not only focus the map, it will also display a larger version of the coat of arms.

The GeoNames balloons are linking to the respective GeoTree representation of the toponym. GeoTree is using the GeoNames hierarchical webservices.

GeoTree is developed by Christophe, GeoNames Ambassador to France. Jan and Bernard are helping with the svg representation of the coat of arms. Check it out.

We have added two new country codes to our database : Saint Martin and Saint Barthélemy both of which are French overseas collectivities in the Caribbean and have previously been part of the French overseas department Guadeloupe. In 2007 they seceded from Guadeloupe and have received the ISO country codes MF and BL (ISO Newsletter PDF).

Saint Martin : MF, MAF, 663 (FIPS : RN)

Saint Barthélemy : BL, BLM, 652 (FIPS : TB)

Saint Barthélemy is named after Christopher Colombus’s brother Bartolomeo. It was a Swedish possession before being sold to France and it’s capital Gustavia bears the name of King Gustav III of Sweden. The Arrawak Indians called the island “Ouanalao“.

The island Saint Martin is separated into a northern part Saint Martin, a French overseas collectivity, and a southern part Sint Maarten which is part of the Netherlands Antilles.

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