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I'm writing an application that needs to plot a user's location on the map, and the user could be anywhere in the world, but I only need city/town level resolution, not street address. Is there a single open source database that contains this information?

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Very similar question with additional resources: Comprehensive list of Latitude and Longitude values of cities round the world –  RyanDalton Apr 9 '12 at 17:36
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2 Answers

up vote 2 down vote accepted

Since you are interested in city/town level resolution, the best one is geonames.org.

"The GeoNames geographical database covers all countries and contains over eight million placenames that are available for download free of charge."

In case you are interested in your user's IP address, you can use ipinfodb. It returns the location of an IP address (country, region, city, zipcode, latitude and longitude) and the associated timezone in JSON format.

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Wow. That's fantastic. Thanks! –  Joshua Frank Apr 8 '12 at 23:06
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For geocoding up to street level, but can also only request a city, this could be useful: http://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Nominatim

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