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The wiki says the OSM front end on is using GeoNames for the search. Wondering because I might implement search functionality for a map myself, and because I'm curious.

How come GeoNames is used? Are there any benefits of doing this, instead of pulling the data from OSM? I mean locations and names are in the OSM dataset.

asked 23 Mar '14, 14:17

Niklas's gravatar image

accept rate: 0%

edited 23 Mar '14, 19:56

aseerel4c26's gravatar image

aseerel4c26 ♦

We use OpenStreetMap (Nominatim) and a range of other sources (if you enter a British postcode data from Free the Postcode are also returned). Geonames is used as well as Nominatim because:

  • it is open
  • created to be comprehensive, whereas OSM may depend on how well an area is mapped. 5 years ago when I joined OSM large areas of the UK, Spain etc didnt have place names let alone street names. Geonames did. So at least one could find an area for editing.
  • it's a useful supplement (particularly when OSM naming gets too detailed, try searching for the now non-existent administrative districts of Middlesex, Berkshire and Sussex on OSM - they dont appear from Nominatim because we have no objects tagged with these places
  • geonames may well be faster because of how it is run

So it's not either/or; Geonames is a supplementary, but useful, source for locations on OSM.

P.S. I suspect the wiki page is a 'living fossil'.

permanent link

answered 23 Mar '14, 15:49

SK53's gravatar image

SK53 ♦
accept rate: 22%

edited 23 Mar '14, 16:54

Great answer. Thank you!

(23 Mar '14, 18:24) Niklas

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question asked: 23 Mar '14, 14:17

question was seen: 6,558 times

last updated: 23 Mar '14, 19:56

NOTICE: is no longer in use from 1st March 2024. Please use the OpenStreetMap Community Forum