We have updated nearly 60’000 populated places with their Cyrillic name variants, thanks to the help of Валерий Хронусов (Valery Hronusov, Ph.D.) who provided a Russian dataset of over 70’000 populated places. For the matching of the existing geonames database with the Russian dataset we used the featureclass, the location (geographical distance) and the name similarity of the transcribed Cyrillic names with the existing international (English) name.
As a name similarity measurement we used the Levenshtein distance (edit distance) and the letter pair similarity. The GOST system was used for the transcription of Cyrillic names into English. The Cyrillic place name Логиновка will become Loginovka.
The same transcription is also used for the geonames search engine. This means a search with a Cyrillic place name may also return the correct place name, even if the Cyrillic name is not yet included as an alternate name in the geonames database. A query for Логиновка not only returns the two cities in the Omskaya and Saratovskaya provinces but also the city in Bashkortostan, even though we don’t yet have the Cyrillic name for the latter.
The geonames database is now fully browsable with Google Earth.
A Google Earth link over the geonames google maps presentation will directly open Google Earth at the same lat/lng and about the same zoom level.
A myriad of cool and nice looking icons from the GE collection are used to display the geonames feature codes thanks to the hard work of Thomas.
Valery has prepared a collection of GeoRSS blogs using the geonames converter, Thomas has created a placemark with the geonames features network link and Gerardo has written a short how-to view a RSS feed in GE using geonames.
Thanks to these efforts geonames has gotten a warm reception by the GE community and a couple of threads are prominently placed on the entrance page.
Thanks to Thomas, Valery and Gerardo.
Update 11 October 2006 : The geonames features network link is dead and had to be removed. We are working on an alternative.
Update 12 October 2006 : The network link was a placemark stored on google infrastructure on the bbs.keyhole site. For some reason it got deleted by a site admin. (This can happend with google. Some weeks ago they accidentally deleted their own blog – I am glad this blog is not hosted on blogspot;-) Msn still has the page in the cache, the placemark, however, has also been removed.
Update 13 October 2006 : The geonames features network link is now stored on our own server. A backup of the msn cache is here.