maintain a local copy of the Geonames database

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Language: PHP

3.0.10 2013-03-12 15:42 UTC


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Maintain a local copy of the Geonames (places) database.

This module will install a self-updating local copy of the Geonames (places) database. It covers the location information, as available from the official database dump. It does not cover the "add-ons", e.g. earthquake, weather data, etc, as available from their webservices.

Attention: the Geonames database is around 1.5GiB - 2GiB in size, when installed in a MySQL database. Are you sure you need a local copy, instead of the official webservices?



    "require": {
        "heartsentwined/zf2-geoname": "3.*"

Then add Heartsentwined\Geoname to the modules key in (app root)/config/application.config.*

Geoname module will also hook onto your application's database, through DoctrineORMModule. It will create a number of tables with the prefix he_geoname_*, and will use the default EntityManager doctrine.entitymanager.orm_default. If your settings are different, please modify the doctrine section of config/module.config.yml as needed.

Geoname module makes use of the Cron module, so make sure you follow its settings, and have set up your cron job properly.

Finally, you need to update your database schema. The recommended way is through Doctrine's CLI:

$ vendor/bin/doctrine-module orm:schema-tool:update --force


Copy config/geoname.local.php.dist to (app root)/config/autoload/geoname.local.php, and modify the settings.

  • tmpDir: temporary directory for storing geonames database source files. (Make sure it is script-writable.)
  • cron: (cron expression) how frequently Geoname should be run.

How frequent should cron be? The recommended setup is every 15 minutes, which is also the default. However, you can make your own adjustments:

At present (18 Sep 2012), it will take 820 cron jobs to install the database. At 15-minute intervals, that would take ~8.5 days to install the database. As for the updates, only 1 cron job per day is needed. However, setting more than one per day is highly recommended to provide redundancy - just in case the geonames server is temporarily unreachable, for example.

You can also adjust to a less frequent cron after install. The status field of the Meta entity, or the he_geoname_meta table, will be Heartsentwined\Geoname\Repository\Meta::STATUS_INSTALL_* during installation, and Heartsentwined\Geoname\Repository\Meta::STATUS_UPDATE afterwards.


Database sync

Just follow the installation instructions. Geoname module will install and update its database in your cron jobs.

Note: when the sources indicate a "delete", Geoname module will not actually delete the corresponding record from your database; it will only mark it as deprecated (by setting the isDeprecated field to true in the entities Place and AltName). This is to ensure that you can rely on the primary IDs set up by Geoname module in your ZF2 app.

Querying the database

You can use the Doctrine 2 ORM API directly. Mapping files are located at (zf2-geoname)/src/Heartsentwined/Geoname/Entity/Mapping. All places' hierarchy, from continent, country, to the various administration levels, have been properly captured in the parent and children fields of the Place entity.

TODO: add a set of API for common tasks, e.g. finding a place by name, listing all places in a country, etc.