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Re: [foaf-dev] FOAF, geonames, and more

From: Bernard Vatant <bernard.vatant@mondeca.com>
Date: Mon, 29 Jan 2007 14:27:18 +0100
Message-ID: <45BDF636.80904@mondeca.com>
To: Jo Walsh <jo@frot.org>
Cc: Alexandre Passant <alex@passant.org>, public-xg-geo@w3.org, Marc <marc@geonames.org>

Hi Jo

Jo Walsh a écrit :
> dear Alexandre,
> On Fri, Jan 26, 2007 at 05:07:06PM +0100, Alexandre Passant wrote:
>   
>> I'm currently looking for ways to link things (especially foaf:Agents)
>> to geonames [1] defined entities (since it provides not only lat/long
>> info but also useful things as wikipedia entry, neighbour places ...).
>>     
>
> This sounds like an interesting and fun project. I would be wary of
> over-relying on geonames.org - the US mil/gov/int data from which is it
> derived can be very inaccurate in places and have names which are locally
> meaningless sometimes. Though geonames are refining and fixing it slowly...
>   
Marc is certainly the best one to answer that and will correct me if I 
am wrong, but I want to stress a couple of things:

1. geonames.org aims at  federating public data, of which "quality and 
accuracy may vary". But "US mil/gov/int data", if the main original 
ones, are not the only source. In the future hopefully more accurate 
data will be aggregated. We have started for France, by matching 
geonames features to INSEE RDF data.
2. geonames.org is a wiki-based collaborative project. If you think some 
data is broken, just fix it. :-) 
Granted, there is a lot to do, there are currently about 6,300,000 
records in the data base, which seems a lot, but actually that's only 1 
record for 1000 Earth inhabitants ;-) . Which means if stakeholders 
begin to come in the loop (that means any user of geo data), distributed 
task force can make a lot. It's just a question of bootstrapping.  
Improvement will come from both  incorporating more accurate public 
data, and more fine-grained tuning of those data through the 
collaborative work. Similar toWikipedia's process.
3. Currently, I'm more concerned by the taxonomy of features (so-called 
feature codes), which is indeed a single source one (US mil/gov/int 
also), and thinking about transitioning to more open and flexible 
concept scheme(s). For example, I'm currently working on a matching of 
geonames feature codes to GEMET concepts wherever available.

Stay tuned. That's just the beginning of it.

Bernard

*Bernard Vatant
*Knowledge Engineering
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Mail:     bernard.vatant@mondeca.com <mailto:bernard.vatant@mondeca.com>
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Received on Monday, 29 January 2007 13:27:34 GMT

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