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GeoNames Search Webservice

Webservice Description

Result»returns the names found for the searchterm as xml or json document, the search is using an AND operator

qstring (q,name or name_equals required)search over all attributes of a place : place name, country name, continent, admin codes,... (Important:urlencoded utf8)
namestring (q,name or name_equals required)place name only(Important:urlencoded utf8)
name_equalsstring (q,name or name_equals required)exact place name
name_startsWithstring (optional)place name starts with given characters
maxRowsinteger (optional)the maximal number of rows in the document returned by the service. Default is 100, the maximal allowed value is 1000.
startRowinteger (optional)Used for paging results. If you want to get results 30 to 40, use startRow=30 and maxRows=10. Default is 0, the maximal allowed value is 5000 for the free services and 25000 for the premium services
countrystring : country code, ISO-3166 (optional)Default is all countries. The country parameter may occur more than once, example: country=FR&country=GP
countryBiasstring (option), two letter country code ISO-3166records from the countryBias are listed first
continentCodestring : continent code : AF,AS,EU,NA,OC,SA,AN (optional)restricts the search for toponym of the given continent.
adminCode1, adminCode2, adminCode3string : admin code (optional)code of administrative subdivision
featureClasscharacter A,H,L,P,R,S,T,U,V (optional) featureclass(es) (default= all feature classes); this parameter may occur more than once, example: featureClass=P&featureClass=A
featureCodestring (optional)featurecode(s) (default= all feature codes); this parameter may occur more than once, example: featureCode=PPLC&featureCode=PPLX
citiesstring (optional)optional filter parameter with three possible values 'cities1000', 'cities5000','cities15000' used to categorize the populated places into three groups according to size/relevance. See the download readme for further infos
langstring ISO-636 2-letter language code; en,de,fr,it,es,... (optional)place name and country name will be returned in the specified language. Default is English. Feature classes and codes are only available in English and Bulgarian. Any help in translating is welcome.
typestring xml,json,rdfthe format type of the returned document, default = xml
stylestring SHORT,MEDIUM,LONG,FULL (optional)verbosity of returned xml document, default = MEDIUM
isNameRequiredboolean (optional)At least one of the search term needs to be part of the place name. Example : A normal search for Berlin will return all places within the state of Berlin. If we only want to find places with 'Berlin' in the name we set the parameter isNameRequired to 'true'. The difference to the name_equals parameter is that this will allow searches for 'Berlin, Germany' as only one search term needs to be part of the name.
tagstring (optional)search for toponyms tagged with the specified tag
operatorstring (optional)default is 'AND', with the operator 'OR' not all search terms need to be matched by the response
charsetstring (optional)default is 'UTF8', defines the encoding used for the document returned by the web service.
fuzzyfloat (optional)default is '1', defines the fuzziness of the search terms. float between 0 and 1. The search term is only applied to the name attribute.
east,west,north,southfloat (optional)bounding box, only features within the box are returned
searchlangstring (optional)in combination with the name parameter, the search will only consider names in the specified language. Used for instance to query for IATA airport codes.
orderbystring (optional)[population,elevation,relevance]in combination with the name_startsWith, if set to 'relevance' than the result is sorted by relevance.
inclBboxstring (option) [true]include Bbox info, regardelss of style setting. (normally only included with style=FULL


Example 1 :

Example 2 :

Example 3 bounding box :


JSON is easier to use in Javascript than XML, as a browser security feature will no allow you to call an xml service from an other domain. A simple example using the json service on googlemaps is here

'name' and 'toponymName'
The response returns two name attributes. The 'name' attribute is a localized name, the preferred name in the language passed in the optional 'lang' parameter or the name that triggered the response in a 'startWith' search. The attribute 'toponymName' is the main name of the toponym as displayed on the google maps interface page or in the geoname file in the download. The 'name' attribute is derived from the alternate names.

Fuzzy Search
With the parameter 'fuzzy' the search will find results even if the search terms are incorrectly spelled. Example:

Reverse Geocoding
Reverse geocoding is the process of finding a place name for a given latitude and longitude. GeoNames has a wide range of reverse geocoding webservices.

RDF - Semantic Web

With the parameter type=rdf the search service returns the result in RDF format defined by the GeoNames Semantic Web Ontology.

GeoNames is using a simple tagging system. Every user can tag places. In contrast to the feature codes and feature classes which are one-dimensional (a place name can only have one feature code) several tags can be used for each place name. It is an additional categorization mechanism where the simple classification with feature codes is not sufficient.

I have tagged a place with the tag 'skiresort'. You can search for tags with the search :
If you only want to search for a tag and not for other occurrences of the term (in case you tag something with 'spain' for example), then you add the attribute 'tags:' to the search term :

And if you want to search for tags of a particular user (or your own) then you append '@username' to the tag. Like this :

With the API the the call looks like this:




Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 License.