Where the Streets Have Known Names

  • Paulo Dias AlmeidaEmail author
  • Jorge Gustavo Rocha
  • Andrea Ballatore
  • Alexander Zipf
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 9789)


Street names provide important insights into the local culture, history, and politics of places. Linked open data provide a wealth of knowledge that can be associated with street names, enabling novel ways to explore cultural geographies. This paper presents a three-fold contribution. We present (1) a technique to establish a correspondence between street names and the entities that they refer to. The method is based on Wikidata, a knowledge base derived from Wikipedia. The accuracy of this mapping is evaluated on a sample of streets in Rome. As this approach reaches limited coverage, we propose to tap local knowledge with (2) a simple web platform. Users can select the best correspondence from the calculated ones or add another entity not discovered by the automated process. As a result, we design (3) an enriched OpenStreetMap web map where each street name can be explored in terms of the properties of its associated entity. Through several filters, this tool is a first step towards the interactive exploration of toponymy, showing how open data can reveal facets of the cultural texture that pervades places.


Digital humanities Toponymy OpenStreetMap Wikidata Linked open data Volunteered geographic information 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Paulo Dias Almeida
    • 1
    Email author
  • Jorge Gustavo Rocha
    • 1
  • Andrea Ballatore
    • 2
  • Alexander Zipf
    • 3
  1. 1.Minho UniversityBragaPortugal
  2. 2.Birkbeck CollegeUniversity of LondonLondonUK
  3. 3.Universität HeidelbergHeidelbergGermany

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