Postal Code Search improvements

The postal code search engine result page (SERP) positions in geonames have been improved for Austria. The most relevant place is now more likely to be on the top position of the postal code search page and the geonames webservice xml or JSON response.

This is best illustated with and example :

A search for code 6020 in Austria returns 124 rows as 124 places share the same postal code. Before this update the top position returned by this search was ‘Rum’ with ‘Sillwerk’ at the second position. Innsbruck was at position 44.

With the improved search algorithm Innsbruck is now on top :

We are using the Yahoo websearch to determine the relevance of a postal code and placename. A search in Yahoo for ‘6020 Innsbruck’ returns 500,000 hits whereas the search for ‘6020 Rum’ returns only 17 hits. These numbers are now part of the search algorithm for postal codes in geonames.

Improvements for other countries will be visible as soon as the numbers to determine the relevancy are available. A batch job on the developement server is working on this.


Searching with Country Names in different languages

The geonames search function now understands Country Names in different languages and has better support for non-english search queries.

Here some examples :

Country name Italy :

Country name Italien :

Country name Italia :

Country name इटली :इटली

Country name ايطاليا :ايطاليا

The geonames search engine is able to correctly identify the country name in different languages and returns the correct result.

(For most countries at least, there are some country names for which it does not yet work. Can you find some of these exceptions?)

Edit May 14 2006 : The problem I was referring to is fixed now, glad no one found it 😉

Nga Load 2006-04-10

After having skipped the nga download of 2006-03-01 I have updated geonames today with the 2006-04-10 version.

The country with the most modifications since our latest nga update in February 2006 is Afghanistan. This is not really a surprise if we know what nga is. I cite from the nga faq :

The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) provides timely, relevant and accurate geospatial intelligence in support of national security. NGA, formerlly the National Imagery and Mapping Agency, was established October 1, 1996 to address the expanding requirements in the areas of imagery, imagery intelligence, and geospatial intelligence. The Agency changed its name on 24 November 2003. It is a Department of Defense (DoD) combat support agency that has been assigned an important, additional statutory mission of supporting national-level policymakers and Government Agencies. NGA is a member of the Intelligence Community and the single entity upon which the U.S. Government now relies to coherently manage the previously separate disciplines of imagery and mapping. By providing customers with ready access to the world's best imagery and geospatial intelligence, NGA provides critical support for the national decision making process and contributes to the high state of operational readiness of America's military forces.

It is notable however that no modifications are released for Iraq. I guess the Iraq modifications will only be released after the political situation in Iraq has stabilized.

I have posted detailed numbers in the geonames forum.

Wikipedia load

Today I have loaded Geonames with the newest Wikipedia dumps for English, German and Spanish.

Here some numbers comparing the load of today with 4 March 2006. (I didn’t have time to generate numbers for the load of 2 April 2006).

The total number of entries has increased from 155,000 to 180,000 which means an increase of 17%. The number of entries in English has increased from 40,000 to 44,000 (10%) and the number of entries in German from 28,000 to 32,000 (17%). The number of languages is still around 190.

You find detailed numbers on the geonames wikipedia page :


Numbers of previous months are backed up here :



Bye the way, the geonames webservice “findNearbyWikipedia” has recently become the service most often called per day among all our webservices. A close second is the “full text search“.