Over a year ago, in Querying geospatial data with SPARQL: Part 1, I described my dream of pulling geospatial data down from Open Street Map, loading it into a local triplestore, and then querying it with queries that conformed to the GeoSPARQL standard. At the time, I tried several triplestores and data sources and never quite got there. When I tried it recently with Ontotext’s free version of GraphDB, it all turned out to be quite easy.
OpenStreetMap, or “OSM” to geospatial folk, is a crowd-sourced online map that has made tremendous achievements in its role as the Wikipedia of geospatial data. (The Wikipedia page for OpenStreetMap is really worth a skim to learn more about its impressive history.) OSM offers a free alternative to commercial mapping systems out there—and you better believe that the commercial mapping systems are reading that great free data into their own databases.