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Joined: 14/10/2007 01:00:50
Messages: 8

I'm late to the party here, but just updated the geonames database on after several years of neglect.

I changed to use the admin2 entities in address selection and the UK community has been screaming bloody murder. There are two major problems:

1. People *just* want the county names they're familiar with. And there are way more entities here than the counties they want. *And* they don't match up exactly.
2. The default names are way too wordy, so people have a hard time. "City and County of Swansea" is way too much when they just want "Swansea". I can probably join with the alternatename table to get something a bit better, but this application has not used the alternatename table in the past.

From reading the 2007 blog post ( I see that data came from the Ordnance Survey, which means it should be pretty authoritative. But I'm confused about why there are so *many* admin2 entries for England for example, far more than listed in the Wikipedia list of English counties. (BTW, all the links to Ordnance Survey products in that 2007 post are broken, so it's hard to trace the data down using that.)

The very painful issue where this has been worked over the years for Warmshowers is

If there are suggestions on how to use this more successfully with regular people who just want counties, please speak up. If there's a way this can be boiled down a bit, I'd be happy to work on it.

Joined: 14/07/2014 15:46:50
Messages: 2

I'm curious if there was ever a resolution about what to do with the GOVs in the UK. I have been trying to piece together a proper hierarchy from the data and it seems that these divisions are ignored (and in some cases they seem to be classified incorrectly, eg "West Midlands" has been classified as a "historical first-order administrative division" even though it is represented in the ordinance survey ( In the case of "West Midlands", it is also both a "Region" and a "Metropolitan County". Using Birmingham, UK as an example, I would expect a hierarchy of UK > England > West Midlands > West Midlands > Birmingham (with this last entry representing the Metropolitan borough of Birmingham. The city itself would be inside of that).

Are there any guidelines on how some of the feature codes should be used? It seems like there are cases when proper regions or suburbs will be classified as PPL which is generally pretty vague. I'm not sure if that is just due to incorrect classification or due to some agreed upon guideline.


Joined: 12/07/2014 03:46:58
Messages: 5
Location: new york

Thank you marc for your work.
Here's the problem I am interested.
I didn't notice thoses changes because moddate wasn't change for those entries so not include in the daily modification dump.

A better day.
[Yahoo!] [MSN] [ICQ]

Joined: 03/12/2014 10:46:36
Messages: 1


I'd just like to ask here, is there a way to extract a list of Counties for the UK? For someone living in the UK, their address is formed up with the County being the last unit of division below the country level. Inclusion of unitary authorities and London boroughs with no way to actually distinguish between them simply renders the data unusable for building a list of countries and regions that would actually make sense to web site visitors.

So - my questions:
1) Is there any way in which I can extract a list of hierarchical data that maps to how addresses in each country work?
2) Is there any way that I'm missing in which I can determine what type of ADM1 is returned in instances where many different types of item are returned with the same code, and, if so, is this universally applicable?

Thanks for the great service



Joined: 14/04/2015 11:21:26
Messages: 4

marc wrote:
Hi Julian

The PPLA2 has only been added as a tag, it is not yet an official feature code. I don't know whether it makes sense to add this as a new feature code. There is a general problem with the PPLA feature code since PPLC often also serve as PPLA and we cannot model this information, with PPLA2 it will even get worse. With the tagging system we can add as many tags to a toponym as we like. This might be a more flexible solution for properties like PPLA2.

I agree the situation with London is not yet satisfactory, at least it has not gotten worse with the introduction of the countries as ADM1.

We have been discussing about adding GOVs as ADM2 in this thread :

There the list of GOVs in the UK (Scottland, Wales and Norther Ireland don't have GOVs and count as one GOV) :
East Midlands
East of England
North East
North West
South East
South West
West Midlands
Yorkshire & Humberside

And here the list of London Boroughs :
City of London
Barking and Dagenham
Hammersmith and Fulham
Kensington and Chelsea
Kingston upon Thames
Richmond upon Thames
Tower Hamlets
Waltham Forest

The capital of London we have in the GeoNames database is a feature class 'P' wheras the administrative divisions are a feature class 'A'. In most countries we have inserted two records to distinguish between 'A' and 'P' functions of a geographical entity. This is another disadvantage of the strict feature type classification system.

We didn't decided not to model the GOVs at all. They are (except for London) not very well known and might confuse most users of the GeoNames database.
In the case of London I have the feeling that the Boroughs are also (besides their administrative function) something like a PPLX for the PPL London. What do you think?


Why are there no GOV in the UK heirachy?

East Midlands
East of England
North East
North West
South East
South West
West Midlands
Yorkshire & Humberside

How can I add easily these for my own personal use if you dont intend to include them in the main data dump? Basically all I have are the
different data dump files which I'm using to import into some mysql tables. If I want to add the above GOV how would you go about it.
Is there some sql I can run to identify town and cities that fit into the above GOVs using the data dumps?


Joined: 22/09/2016 16:58:11
Messages: 10

Hi, I'm looking for a way to use geonames data for the UK, but would need clear identification of GOVs and counties - for my purposes those are a much higher priority than all the lower-level administrative divisions (parishes and such).

Any recommendations for how to achieve this?

Also I am a bit confused by the current hierarchy, for example you currently have South Yorkshire marked as a historic administrative division, but per Wikipedia it is a real county containing 4 metropolitan boroughs. Thoughts on this?

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