In Goodness gracious, great circles, Edd writes up the results of more cool Dashboard related hacking. So now you have another good reason for adding GeoURL tags to your ‘blog. Edd is also looking for more geographic related services and data sets.
I came across one a while back whilst doing some related research (enriching search results by identifying place-names and adding links to more information).
This service is offered by the Alexandria Digital Library Project, and is known as the ADL Gazetteer Protocol:
…a lightweight, stateless, XML- and HTTP-based protocol for accessing gazetteers: dictionaries of geographic placenames. The protocol supports querying gazetteers (by placename, by geographic area, by feature class, and by inter-placename relationship); retrieving standard placename reports; downloading gazetteers in bulk; and managing gazetteers (by adding, removing, and relating placenames).
The hands-on introduction and test forms show the range of queries that can be made, including the use of latitude and longitude (e.g. find places within this area).
These seem to fit quite closely to the kind of use cases Edd is interested in. However I’m not sure of the licensing for this data and some initial experiments have shown it to be quite US centric; I could find Chippenham, but not Bristol for example. However the ability to add gazetteer entries seems a promising way to deal with that. As Edd notes, with open source “…it’s easy to get input from lots of people with local knowledge of different parts of the world.”
The web client to the Map and Imaging lab also looks promising as there numerous search options and auto-generated maps that highlights a particular point. All of this appears to be URL addressable. For example, this is Chippenham.