20 Feb 2006

huge geocoding database from the us military

if you are looking for geocoding inside the US, then there are a huge number of resources you can use, most prominently yahoo's geocoding api and geocoder.us.

however, if you're looking for things outside of the US, things are a little more sparse. there are spots of ordinance surveys in various countries like australia and uk (which is what i'm interested in.) but i've recently come across the GEOnet name server that is maintained by the US military that has over 5 million place names in their database. basically they have names of cities, towns and districts with their proper latitude and longitude from everywhere in the world.

their tab delimited data file is over 760MB uncompressed. i'm planning to put some of this (criteria being places i've visited or want to know about) into a database so i can search it. for instance, i'd like to search for "killara, australia" and get the GPS coordinate for my suburb in sydney, or "happy valley, hong kong" and get where my old apartment is in hong kong.

been playing with webkit and google maps recently, and knocked up a little neat app that just does google maps. that explains why i was interested in if there were any good google maps implementations on the mac.

here's a quick screen shot of it in action:


i have some plans to use it for something a little more useful than just browsing google maps for fun. its actually using the google maps v2 api so i get nice zoomed in features:


a hint on what i'm planning to use it for, is why i'm suddenly so interested in plugin hacking and augmenting existing applications. will reveal more later when i actually accomplish it :)

You can reply to me about this on Twitter: