If you've been wondering why a world of web site developers, CMS teams, shopping cart providers, and blue chips are all maintaining their own independent geographical databases, then you're not alone.
Imagine if every website wanting to display the weather forecasts, forex information, or sporting results all had to download CSV files from a github repository and then commit themselves to maintaining their own lists forever more.
Countries, states and cities may not pop into existence as often as the weather changes, but the idea that every website should maintain their own database seems crazy. It's the kind of thing that it ideally suited to a web service.
Updating country lists may be a mere irritation, an occasional chore, for a website administrator. After all, the last time a new country needed to be added was back in 2011, when South Sudan gained independence from Sudan. However, states and their names change much more frequently, and towns and cities even more so. And then there's additional information about locations, such as their population, that change even more frequently.
The point of Geodata Solutions is to make that task a job for one organisation rather than for millions around the world. I plan to build on the existing database I've created, keep it current, and build on its assets. My hope is that this project will change the way geographical information is sourced in web applications. Syndicated usage of the system will alleviate the duplicated burden of maintaining local data stores while allowing error reporting and updates to be submitted by millions of users.
The RESTful interface is in 'Beta' at the moment. It offers country lists, state lists and city lists, along with some basic additional location information. Developers wanting to use the system should get in touch for an API key*, as well as requests for new search types or filtering, or new pieces of data. There's also quite a big job in completing gaps in the data set, of which population data is a significant one.
Get in touch, and point others who may be interested in this direction
Contact Andy with feedback or to request a key (I'll automate the API key process when we're tested and stable)
The REST API is open for use without any registration or API key, just start making the requests. See how it's done on the REST Demo page