We present a multi-level geocoding model (MLG) that learns to associate texts to geographic coordinates. The Earth’s surface is represented using space-filling curves that decompose the sphere into a hierarchical grid. MLG balances classification granularity and accuracy by combining losses across multiple levels and jointly predicting cells at different levels simultaneously. It obtains large gains without any gazetteer metadata, demonstrating that it can effectively learn the connection between text spans and coordinates—and thus makes it a gazetteer-free geocoder. Furthermore, MLG obtains state-of-the-art results for toponym resolution on three English datasets without any dataset-specific tuning.
We show that it is feasible to perform entity linking by training a dual encoder (two-tower) model that encodes mentions and entities in the same dense vector space, where candidate entities are retrieved by approximate nearest neighbor search. Unlike prior work, this setup does not rely on an alias table followed by a re-ranker, and is thus the first fully learned entity retrieval model. We show that our dual encoder, trained using only anchor-text links in Wikipedia, outperforms discrete alias table and BM25 baselines, and is competitive with the best comparable results on the standard TACKBP-2010 dataset. In addition, it can retrieve candidates extremely fast, and generalizes well to a new dataset derived from Wikinews. On the modeling side, we demonstrate the dramatic value of an unsupervised negative mining algorithm for this task.