New York Times data API with GeoNames

NYT Logo

The New York Times is adding GeoNames data to their subject headings and making it available as Linked Open Data under a cc-by license.

For ages the NYT has indexed articles with keywords (tags/subject headings) from an extensive vocabulary. Thousands of these keywords have now been mapped to their respective geonameId. This will help for instance enhance the search function with additional information from geonames like lat/lng for a reverse geocoded article search. The vocabulary is available under a cc-by license in various ways and formats. You can download a huge file or you can browse individual entries on the NYT website. As an example the keyword ‘Zurich’ in html or rdf format. The GeoNames data in the rdf format is using the GeoNames ontology. The subject headings can be used by developers to query the NYT api for articles on the topic.


Live action Popfly tutorial

The Popfly development team have produced a funny tutorial over the holidays where the team members play the roles of the Popfly blocks (modules). In the video they create a facebook mashup to display facebook friends on Virtual Earth. GeoNames is used to geocode the friend’s locations.

GeoNames is a handy web service that will find the longitude and the latitude for a given location.

via go2web20 blog and John Montgomery

see also our blog posting on the initial Popfly release.

The awesome google maps mashup has recently won the first price of the Mash up Award 3rd organized by Sun Microsystems Japan. Yuki Naotori, the ongmap founder and developer, is generously sharing part of the prize money with GeoNames and other open source projects and communities ongmap is relying on.
Thanks Yuki.

ONGMAPs mission is to collect a vast range of information about what is at a given location and to make it easily locatable on a map of the world.

Multimap is integrating GeoNames

Multimap has announced today the integration of GeoNames data into their services. GeoNames data on multimap is updated once per day and available with the multimap search on the website as well as with the multimap API. Multimap invites their users to “visit the GeoNames site to add new places, change a wrong location or add alternative names”.

Multimap is one of the earliest and largest internet mapping providers. According to some sources it is the largest online mapping site followed by google maps.

GeoNames does geocoding for Popfly

Microsoft released Popfly, a new mashup tool, in private alpha today. There are around 50 predefined blocks which can be dragged to the design surface where the blocks are connected to create a new mashup. Popfly is kind of a foolproof, slick version of Yahoo! pipes based on the Silverlight browser plugin. For geocoding there is a predefined block GeoNames to access web services. Here a screen shot from the tutorial :

The GeoNames block supports five operations, all of which are restricted to the US:

  1. getLatitudeAndLongitude : geocoding, returns lat/lng
  2. lookupOnPlaceName : geocoding, returns lat/lng and place info
  3. lookupOnZipCode : geocoding with zipcode
  4. lookupOnCityState : geocoding with US state and city
  5. lookupOnLatitudeLongitude : reverse geocoding (findNearbyPostalCodes)

TechCrunch writes about Popfly : “Microsoft are the latest entrants in this market, and they have completely leapfrogged every other application we have seen so far.

John Montgomery, the GPM of Popfly, is blogging about the Genesis of Popfly.

Watch the demo screen cast to see how easy it is to geocode the location of twitter users and display it on VirtualEarth. (WMV, Quicktime)
Not only if Popfly a funny toy it also has the potential to help web service providers monetize their services. It is still difficult if not impossible to combine web services with advertisements. A centralized mashup platform like Popfly could include ads in the presentation layer and share revenues with the mashup creator and the web service providers. Is Popfly going to be the google adsense killer the world is desperately waiting for?

Scribble Maps

Robert, the creator of ZipScribbleMaps [1][2][3], has added a dozen countries from the geonames postal code data set to his collection of ZipMaps : AT, AU, CA, CH, DE, ES, FR, HU, IT, NL, NO, SE.
ZipScribbleMaps is visualising the organisation of postal codes by connecting postal codes in ascending order and using different colours for different administrative divisions.

Robert has spottet a couple of errors in the geonames data set during this work. Montejo de Bricia for example was erroneously laying in the Bay of Biscay.

Google Earth

The geonames database is now fully browsable with Google Earth.

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.

km42 – Spiegel Online

Every now and then I would like to write about a geoname user. Todays posting is about a user who has joined the geonames user community these days.

km42 is the continuation of the Grimme award winning interactive travel report project Reporter Jörg Peiffer is travelling and reporting about places suggested by visitors of the project website.

The project website displays the current position of the reporter on a map as well as the path taken so far. Clicking on the icons on the map will lead to the reports as texts, pod casts or video casts. Interaction with the reporter is possible via an internet forum and suggestions. The place name search for the suggestion feedback is powered by geonames.

Spiegel Online Km42 is a Spiegel Online project and thus part of one of the largest news sites in the German speaking world.

I am sure there is a lot of interesting, unexpected and surprising stuff in your part of the world. Post you suggestions to the km42 website or the comments section below and I forward them to the km42 project.

new GeoRSS Viewer at will soon release a GeoRSS viewer on top of their already remarkable interface. The viewer is currently in Beta, but nevertheless the most sophisticated GeoRSS viewer we know about. If you want to check it out, and I am sure you want, just add the RSS feed URL to the path ‘’. will call the geonames converter with the url and display the feed.

Here an example of google news about “flu” :

Reuters “World News” is already in the default profile. You can create a login with and create your own list of your favorite geo feeds.

An important feature for us here at geonames is the feedback menu for each feed entry. There are two options ‘ok’ and ‘nok’ (for “not ok”). A click on one of them will result in a callback to the geonames server. We will store your feedback in our database and use it to improve our conversion algorithm. We hope to be able to officially release the RSS to GeoRSS converter pretty soon. Below a screen shot of the ‘geoFeedExplorer’ I have underlined the feedback menus and marked them with a red arrow.

GeoFeedExplorer Feedback