Geo::Coder::Free - Provides a Geo-Coding functionality using free databases


Version 0.34


    use Geo::Coder::Free;

    my $geo_coder = Geo::Coder::Free->new();
    my $location = $geo_coder->geocode(location => 'Ramsgate, Kent, UK');

    print 'Latitude: ', $location->lat(), "\n";
    print 'Longitude: ', $location->long(), "\n";

    # Use a local download of and
    my $openaddr_geo_coder = Geo::Coder::Free->new(openaddr => $ENV{'OPENADDR_HOME'});
    $location = $openaddr_geo_coder->geocode(location => '1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington DC, USA');

    print 'Latitude: ', $location->lat(), "\n";
    print 'Longitude: ', $location->long(), "\n";


Geo::Coder::Free provides an interface to free databases by acting as a front-end to Geo::Coder::Free::MaxMind and Geo::Coder::Free::OpenAddresses.

The cgi-bin directory contains a simple DIY Geo-Coding website.

    cgi-bin/page.fcgi page=query q=1600+Pennsylvania+Avenue+NW+Washington+DC+USA

You can see a sample website at

    curl ''



    $geo_coder = Geo::Coder::Free->new();

Takes one optional parameter, openaddr, which is the base directory of the OpenAddresses data downloaded from

The database also will include data from Who's On First

Takes one optional parameter, directory, which tells the object where to find the MaxMind and GeoNames files admin1db, admin2.db and cities.[sql|csv.gz]. If that parameter isn't given, the module will attempt to find the databases, but that can't be guaranteed.


    $location = $geo_coder->geocode(location => $location);

    print 'Latitude: ', $location->{'latitude'}, "\n";
    print 'Longitude: ', $location->{'longitude'}, "\n";

    # TODO:
    # @locations = $geo_coder->geocode('Portland, USA');
    # diag 'There are Portlands in ', join (', ', map { $_->{'state'} } @locations);

    # Note that this yields many false positives and isn't useable yet
    my @matches = $geo_coder->geocode(scantext => 'arbitrary text', region => 'US');


    $location = $geocoder->reverse_geocode(latlng => '37.778907,-122.39732');

To be done.


Does nothing, here for compatibility with other Geo-Coders


You can also run this module from the command line:

    perl lib/Geo/Coder/ 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington DC


Nigel Horne, <>

This library is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the same terms as Perl itself.


Before you start, install App::csv2sqlite; optionally set the environment variable OPENADDR_HOME to point to an empty directory and download the data from into that directory; optionally set the environment variable WHOSONFIRST_HOME to point to an empty directory and download the data using You do not need to download the MaxMind data, that will be downloaded automatically.

You will need to create the database used by Geo::Coder::Free. In the bin directory there are some helper scripts to do this. You will need to tailor them to your set up, but that's not that hard as the scripts are trivial

1. Download_databases - this will download the WhosOnFirst and Openaddr databases. The Makefile.PL file will download the MaxMind database. 2. create_db - this creates the database used by G:C:F. It's called openaddr.sql, but that's historical before I added the WhosOnFirst database. The names are a bit of a mess because of that. I should rename it, though it doesn't contain the Maxmind data. 3. create_sqlite - converts the Maxmind database from CSV to SQLite.

See the comment at the start of createdatabase.PL for further reading.


I've written a few Perl related Genealogy programs including gedcom ( and ged2site ( One of the things that these do is to check the validity of your family tree, and one of those tasks is to verify place-names. Of course places do change names and spelling becomes more consistent over the years, but the vast majority remain the same. Enough of a majority to computerise the verification. Unfortunately all of the on-line services have one problem or another - most either charge for large number of access, or throttle the number of look-ups. Even my modest tree, just over 2000 people, reaches those limits.

There are, however, a number of free databases that can be used, including MaxMind, GeoNames, OpenAddresses and WhosOnFirst. The objective of Geo::Coder::Free ( is to create a database of those databases and to create a search engine either through a local copy of the database or through an on-line website. Both are in their early days, but I have examples which do surprisingly well.

The local copy of the database is built using the createdatabase.PL script which is bundled with G:C:F. That script creates a single SQLite file from downloaded copies of the databases listed above, to create the database you will need to first install App::csv2sqlite. If REDIS_SERVER is set, the data are also stored on a Redis Server. Running 'make' will download GeoNames and MaxMind, but OpenAddresses and WhosOnFirst need to be downloaded manually if you decide to use them - they are treated as optional by G:C:F.

There is a sample website at The source code for that site is included in the G:C:F distribution.


Some lookups fail at the moments, if you find one please file a bug report.

Doesn't include results from Geo::Coder::Free::Local.

The MaxMind data only contains cities. The OpenAddresses data doesn't cover the globe.

Can't parse and handle "London, England".

SEE ALSO,,,, and

Geo::Coder::Free::Local, Geo::Coder::Free::Maxmind, Geo::Coder::Free::OpenAddresses.

See Geo::Coder::Free::OpenAddresses for instructions creating the SQLite database from


You can find documentation for this module with the perldoc command.

    perldoc Geo::Coder::Free

You can also look for information at:


Copyright 2017-2023 Nigel Horne.

The program code is released under the following licence: GPL for personal use on a single computer. All other users (including Commercial, Charity, Educational, Government) must apply in writing for a licence for use from Nigel Horne at `<njh at>`.

This product uses GeoLite2 data created by MaxMind, available from See their website for licensing information.

This product uses data from Who's on First. See for licensing information.