I have seen the python scraper described here.

Well this is very interesting. I am not a programmer and therefore some of the techniques and ideas of scrapers are too complicated for me. But it seems to be the tool of choice: I need a scraper that fetches all the data of South American schools (e.g. via wget of planet-files of Open Streetmap - see here http://download.geofabrik.de/index.html ). I only need the following data of all schools -from elementary, k12 and college.

name of the school / (college)
adress (country, town and postal code, street and housenumber)
website (if available) 

see more about the tags https://taginfo.openstreetmap.org/keys/school#values

Note; i am only interested in the textual information of the POIs- that means no backward-engineering of the maps. So we do not need to gather lots of map-infos.

Background and goal: I am a teacher and I work on a little project in the field of education so to describe my goals. I want to say some words and thoughts regarding the philanthropic impact. I think that we should use Open Streetmap to:

  • improve the lives of poor children and youth by providing basic necessities, critical benefits and services,

  • make programs that do support mid-term and long-term development and opportunities that prepare them for success.

On a side note: this would be definitely a task for the developers at Scraperwiki.org.

Please help me find data (location and contact information) for schools in South America.

  • 1
    The blog post you linked to only seems to have linked data on UK schools. Can you explain what data you are looking for about South American schools? Are we talking about # of students/teachers, funding, what? Jul 9, 2014 at 20:00
  • hello Mark - thx for the reply. Well - no we do not talking bout # of students , teachers and such things - only about names, adresses and (if available: contact details like website) .. just that simple. I know that the link goes to a uk database. But i would love to see a scraper that makes it possible to get the school data into a mysql or postgre-sql db
    – zero
    Jul 9, 2014 at 23:05
  • 1
    OK @Zero - I will see what I can find in terms of data about schools in South America. Any more bounds such as target/priority countries would be helpful. Jul 10, 2014 at 0:13

1 Answer 1


Here is some information on how to get closer to what you might be looking for.

One well-organized source for information like this is a site called GeoNames.org. GeoNames has a number of APIs as well as downloads ("dumps") which are discussed on their export page.

For your use case, an export seems to make sense. Each country's POIs (points of interest) are downloadable in .zip frhttp://download.geonames.org/export/dump/. Each includes a README file describing the data. The data should be able to be opened in a spreadsheet application such as Microsoft Excel or Apple's iWork Numbers and similarly imported into database and analytics engines such as MySQL, MongoDB, MS Access, Tableau, and much much more.

If you're interested in only schools, you will want to determine which GoeNames feature codes you are interested in and only import those into your database/collection. These codes/classes correspond to the text files' seventh and eighth columns as documented in the README file under the heading "The main 'geoname' table has the following fields :"

I imagine someone may be willing to write a program to download the exports for each South American country and import only the schools (note there are several different type of codes which map to schools depending on your definition of what a school is) into a MySQL server or just CSV file. To make it easier, I would suggest you define what exactly you're looking for and maybe attach a bounty to it.

Hope this helps!

  • hello Mark - many thanks for this great answer - which is definitly insprirng and encouraging. I will write more later the week. At the moment i am very short of time! - i come back and let you know more.
    – zero
    Jul 10, 2014 at 6:35
  • more infos / goals added. even more to come...- at the weekend
    – zero
    Jul 10, 2014 at 8:22

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