I’ve struggled with writing the first blog post about OpenPOIs because there’s so much to say it’s hard to know where or how to begin. So after much procrastination, I’ll just start with the practical, tangible aspects and expand later on. OpenPOIs is an initiative of the Open Geospatial Consortium to build a global, comprehensive database of POIs — points of interest — which are basically all public places. The database is being seeded with existing open place databases such as Geonames and OpenStreetMap, and we plan to expand on what these great services already offer, by specializing in some key areas:
- OpenPOIs will index all web resources related to a POI as possible
- OpenPOIs will be the best source of correct place name spellings
- OpenPOIs will be multi-lingual
- OpenPOIs is open for third-party contributions and corrections
The system went public in alpha stage earlier this month with some US data. We are currently rebuilding the database with global coverage in preparation for a beta launch in a few weeks. It’s limited to a basic map and some read-only RESTful queries right now, with a full geographic search API coming soon.
Join the public announcement mailing list and read this blog to stay abreast of the advances coming soon.
Finally, for those of you interested in working with OpenPOIs, or building your own place name database or gazetteer, a “birds of a feather” interest group has formed with a mailing list here, and a monthly teleconference (join the list for access information).