In summary, this means a whole lot of places with their names and geo coordinates and links to other places are now available on the Semantic Web. For example, this is a URI for Berlin:
And now I can linkt to it from my FOAF file.
This is an excellent example of a Semantic Web site done right. Well, almost right …
The good stuff:
- URIs for all concepts, like the Berlin URI.
- All URIs are dereferenceable. Click on the one above!
- The data contains links to related places and concepts.
- Clear, simple vocabulary.
- Vocabulary re-uses existing work where appropriate (SKOS).
- Small, easily processable chunks of data.
The bad stuff:
- Mixing of documents and concepts. Thou Shalt Not use the same URI for a concept and the document describing it! See TBL’s Linked Data, section “Variation: URIs without Slashes and HTTP 303”
- Dead vocabulary links. The vocabulary uses URIs like
http://www.geonames.org/ontology#inCountry, but these URIs resolve to an HTML page; it would be much better to serve the RDFS/OWL specification (which actually resides here), or serve the right thing depending on the
Accept:HTTP header (content negotiation).
- No backlinks. There are links to concepts higher up in the hierarchy, but not the other way. This limit the possibilities of browsing and crawling the linked web of places.
rdfs:labels. Adding the value of
geonames:nameredundantly as an
rdfs:label(or at least declaring
geonames:namea sub property of
rdfs:label, which would be a good idea no matter what) would help RDF browsers like Tabulator to display the data in a better way.
But still, this is an extremely cool addition to the Semantic Web, and a nice showcase for linked data. Kudos to Bernard Vatant, who seems to have done most of the work and lobbying.