RSS to GeoRSS converter

The brand new Geonames RSS-to-GeoRSS-Converter reads each entry in an RSS feed and tries to determine a geo location for the entry using a modified version of the Geonames full text search. If a geo location is found, its latitude and longitude in GeoRSS format are added to the feed entry. It works for any RSS feed, just pass the feed url as a parameter to the converter and your feed entries will get latitude and longitude in real time.

Here the Reuters WorldNews Feed enriched with lat/lng by Geonames and displayed on the Acme GeoRSS Mapper. It works like a unix pipe : the orginal Reuters feed is piped through the Geonames converter and the result is displayed on the Acme Viewer. You could imagine to pipe the result through a translation service, trough a filter service, trough a sort service, merge with an other feed and so on. In the end you have the original feed translated into your language, filtered by some keywords, enriched with geo information and sorted by distance to your home address. I digress, lets go back to our service.

In addition to adding GeoRSS information the converter is also able to convert from one rss dialect to an other RSS dialect. This is useful if the converted feed with the geo information should be displayed with a GeoRSS viewer which does not support the RSS dialect of the original feed. Just add the parameter type to the url with the target RSS dialect.

The converter has to take the language of the feed into account. Supported languages are English, German, Spanish, Italian and French. The automatic language detection of the converter is rudimentary and only uses the top level domain of the feed to determine the language (.de > de, .it > it ,….). The parameter lang can be used to pass a language and circumvent the automatic language detection.

This a very first release for this service and there is a lot of way for improvement. Don't hesitate to use the comments form below for your ideas and feedback.

Link :


18 thoughts on “RSS to GeoRSS converter

  1. What about the number of items of the feed? is it limited to 10? why sometimes there are only 5 or 6 spot on the map? can we increase the number displayed?

  2. Hi Philou

    There is a limit of 20 items in the feed. I will add a parameter maxRows to allow for more items.
    If you see only 5 or 6 then it means the geocoder was not able to find a location for the other items.


  3. thx Marc. I am french (it was me who spot the new-orleans mistake).

    about Le Monde feed, it means they limited the feed to 5 items and there’s nothing we can do, right?

    about how the converter works… can it map just a country? some items seems to be mapped in the middle of the country without being attached to any further location….
    and can it map more precise adress? could we imagine a feed about events in a city map this way? (i now realize i should try that by myself with some feeds….)


  4. Philou

    we could periodically fetch the Le Monde feed, store it in a database and read more then 5 items from the database. This would also be much faster then the current solution of fetching and processing the feed in real time. How many entries would you like to read at the same time?

    The converter returns the best match from the over 6 million toponyms in the geonames database. If a news item only has a country name and no place name, then the country will be returned.
    The converter can give you more precis addresses if two conditions are met :
    1. the place name is in the feed (title or description)
    2. the the same place name is in the geonames database

    You can add places to the geonames database to improve the latter condition.

    I had a look at the feed. The feed already includes latitude and longitude, the geonames converter will not change these. For France these values are zero (0/0). I could change the geonames converter to change existing latitude/longitude if they are zero, but I don't know whether it is worthwile, since there are only few events in France in the feeds.


  5. thx for your answer again.

    I’ve been playing around with Mapufacture (
    so i guess the number of items diplayed is not important anymore…

    About, i guess it’s not worth, you’re right. I was just curious about how the converter works. I just love the idea. and now, the result we can get.

    Maybe you could include something about Mapufacture in your converter page. (although maybe it’s still early, i had some pb to make it work…)

    mmmmm, sorry… i’ve got more question!
    I’ve tried the google news feed but couldn’t get anything from it. any pb with that?
    I also tried with “google blog search” feed, without any result.

  6. I will definitely add Mapufacture (and some more readers/viewers) to the documentation.

    “Google news” and “google blog search” should work. I have added a missing url encoding in the documention form to generate the acme/googleEarth link. Could you try again :

    I have also improved the geocoder for the French language. If you see more errors like the one with ‘New Orleans’ don’t hesitate to tell me.


  7. Yep! it worked in acme viewer but not in mapufacture. don’t know why: there is an error page showing…

  8. Hi,
    don’t know if I’ll get an answer in such an old post, but I try nevertheless…

    I was wondering if it’s possible to “identify” the text part with the location found. This would be very useful for plain-text uses. There could be a tag assigned and from there along pipes other different “linkify” options could be added automatically.

    Or is there already a way of doing it, that I’m not aware?


  9. Hi

    We wanted to keep the API for the geoparser as simple as possible and have used GeoRSS which does not allow for sophisticated stuff like tagging the text or add multiple locations.


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