Over the past decade, rapid advances in web technologies, coupled with innovative models of spatial data collection and consumption, have generated a robust growth in geo-referenced information, resulting in spatial information overload. Increasing 'geographic intelligence' in traditional text-based information retrieval has become a prominent approach to respond to this issue and to fulfill users' spatial information needs. Numerous efforts in the Semantic Geospatial Web, Volunteered Geographic Information (VGI), and the Linking Open Data initiative have converged in a constellation of open knowledge bases, freely available online. In this article, we survey these open knowledge bases, focusing on their geospatial dimension. Particular attention is devoted to the crucial issue of the quality of geo-knowledge bases, as well as of crowdsourced data. A new knowledge base, the OpenStreetMap Semantic Network, is outlined as our contribution to this area. Research directions in information integration and Geographic Information Retrieval (GIR) are then reviewed, with a critical discussion of their current limitations and future prospects.