Free Database of Place Names from GeoNames

By on November 20, 2010

GeoNames is a comprehensive database of geographical locations across all continents. The information is updated daily and made freely available to the public.  The database includes figures on population, latitude, longitude location, timezone, country code and more.

There are over 7.5 million unique place names represented with an additional 5.5 million alternate names. The data trickles on down to your very own neighborhood and street level. Even interesting geographic features such as elevation and environment type are included.

Visit the GeoNames Data page for download information and options.

Data Without the Download

GeoNames also has a graphical web interface for those looking to quickly browse the database with a Google Maps overlay . When you perform a keyword search from the homepage you are presented with all matching locations around the world.

Once you select a specific location you can filter and download a .csv list file of up to 50 surrounding place names.

Several of the tools are seamlessly integrated with WikiPedia, including many interesting web services that can be used to enhance the functionality of your own website or application.

This is likely the same data powering tools like GoDaddy’s Geo Domain Map and Name.com’s Geo Domain finder.

Finding Quality Geo Domains

I think a good Domaining strategy is to filter populated places down to the most quality city-centric domains. These would be places that are most populated and relevant to people in a given city.

You can then append additional keyword lists such as local services (insurance, design, construction, magazine, blog, sales, coupons, etc.) to the city names. While the majority of these domains will be taken, you may be able to find some gems still available.

Do you have an idea for using the GeoNames data for domain research or to build an application? Please leave a comment below with your thoughts.

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About Mark Fulton

Mark is the Founder of DotSauce Magazine and a full time web developer, domain investor, SEO and online marketing professional residing in North Carolina, USA. Visit MarkFulton.com for information on freelance website development, SEO and consultation services.