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Nominatim Blog

The importance of normalization

May 6, 2021

Normalization is the process of transforming a text into a form that only contains the information relevant for search. It is an essential part of the search process and has a huge influence on the quality of results. Time to have a closer how it works in Nominatim and how we plan to improve it.

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Nominatim 3.7.1 released

May 5, 2021

There is now a bug fix release 3.7.1 of Nominatim available.

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Nominatim 3.7.0 released

Apr 10, 2021

This week we have released version 3.7.0 of Nominatim. The two biggest changes of this release have already been introduced in previous blog posts: the new nominatim tool and the change in how Nominatim is installed. To make transition and updating easier for you, 3.7.0 is a transitional release that still supports the old way of installing and running the admin tools. The old PHP scripts will be removed in the next release.

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Release preview: Installation and Software Updates

Mar 8, 2021

In our mission to make Nominatim easier to install and use, there are two more features we are working on for the next release: making Nominatim installable and adding automatic migrations.

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Nominatim-UI v3.0

Feb 27, 2021

With Nominatim 3.6 we have split off the HTML website into a separate project nominatim-ui. Going forward the API will only return JSON, XML, geoJSON data while you can install nominatim-ui to visualize results and aid debugging. For openstreetmap.org it is installed on https://nominatim.openstreetmap.org/ui/.

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Introducing the Nominatim command-line tool

Feb 25, 2021

Installing and running Nominatim has for a long time involved handling a couple of PHP scripts. Those scripts will go away with the next release. A new one-stop tool ‘nominatim’ is going to take their place. Installation, updates, maintenance can all be done using the same simple command-line tool. Switching tools is also a great opportunity to clean up the historical baggage that has piled up in the existing scripts. This post describes some of the changes that come with the new tooling.

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Happy new year

Jan 2, 2021

The end of last year saw the release of the 3.6.0 version of Nominatim. It concludes last years effort to improve the address information that is returned to you when you search for something. We have gradually changed how Nominatim organises address information and how it interprets information on OSM place nodes and administrative boundaries. The new system also takes into account that today the existence of administrative boundaries is rather the norm in OSM than the exception. When the original code was written years ago, this was still different. There is still some work to do to look through the data of each country and adapt the ranking system now in place to the local customs but these are more smaller changes we can do gradually.

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Place nodes and boundaries

Nov 11, 2020

Geocoding doesn’t just mean to throw a number of place names into a database and then search for them. To make search truly useful, the geocoder needs to add some context to each place, commonly referred to as the place’s address. In the past year, we have gradually reworked how Nominatim determines the address of a place going from an unstructured to a more structured approach. This post describes how the new algorithm works and what that means for the places you have mapped in OSM.

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Weekly country extracts for Photon

Oct 21, 2020

The download server for Photon now offers ready-to-use database dumps for over 200 countries. Setting up your own geocoding server was never easier.

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Nominatim and the address tags

Oct 7, 2020

OpenStreetMap has a well defined schema how to add addresses into the database. There is a whole set of addr:* tags that allow to specify every part of the address in a structured way. When mappers have entered such an address, they naturally expect to be able to search their place later by entering exactly the same terms in the search box. Sometimes they are disappointed.

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Quo Vadis

Sep 14, 2020

This year Nominatim celebrates its 11th birthday. On Nov 11th 2009 the OpenStreetMap (OSM) homepage used Nominatim as its main search engine for the first time. Since then OSM has grown enormously and with it the need for a geocoder based on OSM data. The OSM Nominatim servers alone now serve more than 30 million queries per day. In addition, there are many private installations out there.

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