For Social Website where the user should specify his or her Area of Residence. I want to use the same method Facebook does; a text input field with a dynamic drop-down menu as you type.
I am using the GeoIP databases. However, there are a number of issues that I see:
- I want to divide each country in a sensible number of areas. In Norway, GeoLiteCity lists over 3000 "places", most of which are very small places no-one has heard of, and is "too local" (may compromise privacy). However, Norway has 430 "communes", which seems like a perfect granularity to me.
- However, to use administrative place names, you would have to figure out the administrative level system for each country in the world, which seems like an insane task. For example, Canada has an administrative division system that differs for each province. And France has over 30.000 "communes" and around 3.000 "cantons". Which level do you choose?
- Also, when picking out entries that are "ADM" (Administrative Level), the names of places often have long prefixes or suffixes, like "Politischer Berzirk Deutschlandsberg" in Austria, rather than just "Deutschlandsberg" which is what you want to display in a drop-down.
- Then there is the issue of places with identical names. There are hundreds places called "San Antonio". Then you need to say which San Antonio, and you soon realize you're in hell trying to puzzle this together for hundreds of thousands of places around the world.
Is there any joined effort to organize and wash the GeoIP database into unique place names of administrative divisions that are as short as possible?
Are there other approaches to this that would elegantly shake off these issues?