Domestic Names - Metadata

Metadata also available as:


Frequently-anticipated questions:

What does this data set describe?

Title: Geographic Names Information System (GNIS)

Abstract:

The Geographic Names Information System (GNIS) is the Federal standard for geographic nomenclature. The U.S. Geological Survey developed the GNIS for the U.S. Board on Geographic Names, a Federal inter-agency body chartered by public law to maintain uniform feature name usage throughout the Government and to promulgate standard names to the public. The GNIS is the official repository of domestic geographic names data; the official vehicle for geographic names use by all departments of the Federal Government; and the source for applying geographic names to Federal electronic and printed products of all types. See <http://geonames.usgs.gov> for additional information.

Supplemental_Information:

The U.S. Board on Geographic Names was created in 1890 and established in its present form by Public Law in 1947 to establish and maintain uniform geographic name usage throughout the Federal Government. The Board serves all government agencies and the public as the central authority to which name inquiries, name issues, and new name proposals can be directed. It is comprised of representatives of Federal agencies associated with land management and cartography. Sharing its responsibilities with the Secretary of the Interior, the Board develops principles, policies, and procedures governing the use of both domestic and foreign geographic names as well as undersea and Antarctic feature names.

  1. How should this data set be cited?

U.S. Geological Survey, 19810501, U.S. Geographic Names Information System (GNIS): U.S. Geological Survey, Reston, VA.

Online Links:

  1. What geographic area does the data set cover?

West_Bounding_Coordinate: -180.00

East_Bounding_Coordinate: 180.00

North_Bounding_Coordinate: 72.00

South_Bounding_Coordinate: -90.00

  1. What does it look like?
  2. Does the data set describe conditions during a particular time period?

Beginning_Date: 1974

Ending_Date: Present

Currentness_Reference: Ground Condition

  1. What is the general form of this data set?

Geospatial_Data_Presentation_Form:

Live map layers in ESRI SDE; live query by URL with parameters and response in XML; web form query with tabular, geographic display and printable format; ASCII, UTF-8, or UTF-16 file download

  1. How does the data set represent geographic features?

Indirect_Spatial_Reference:

Features are located by State and county, and related to the USGS topographic map on which the feature is shown.

This is a Vector data set. It contains the following vector data types (SDTS terminology):

      • Entity point
      • Area point
      • Node, planar graph
      • Complete chain
      • GT-polygon composed of chains

Horizontal positions are specified in geographic coordinates, that is, latitude and longitude. Latitudes are given to the nearest 0.00028. Longitudes are given to the nearest 0.00028. Latitude and longitude values are specified in decimal degrees.

  1. How does the data set describe geographic features?

Geographic feature

A geographic feature is any relatively permanent part of the natural or manmade landscape or seascape that has recognizable identity within a particular cultural context. The primary attributes of a geographic feature are name and location. (Source: Principles, Policies, and Procedures: Domestic Geographic Names, By Donald J. Orth, Executive Secretary, Domestic Geographic Names (emeritus) and Roger L. Payne, Executive Secretary, United States Board on Geographic Names and Domestic Geographic Names, Third printing (revised) and Preliminary Online Edition, 1997 (<http://geonames.usgs.gov/docs/pro_pol_pro.pdf>).)

Feature Identifier

A permanent, unique number assigned to a geographic feature for the sole purpose of uniquely identifying that feature as a record in any information system database, dataset, file, or document and for distinguishing it from all other feature records so identified. The number is assigned sequentially (highest existing number plus one) to new records as they are created in the Geographic Names Information System. The number, by design, carries no information or association to the content of the feature record and therefore is not subject to change as attribute values change. Once assigned to a feature, the number is never changed or withdrawn, and never reassigned. The Feature ID can be applied in conjunction with system-unique record identifiers in any database or system, thus providing a national standard common reference identifier across multiple datasets. The Feature ID is stored in the GNIS database as an integer with a maximum of ten digits. (Source: Geographic Names Project, USGS, 523 National Center, Reston, VA 20192-0523.)

Range of values

Minimum:

1

Maximum:

9,999,999,999

Feature Name

A geographic feature name and its written form and application approved or recognized as official by the United States Board on Geographic Names for use throughout the Federal Government. The official name is established either by policy or by decision of the Board on Geographic Names. It is the proper name, specific term, or expression by which a particular geographic entity is, or was, known. A geographic feature may have only one official name, which must be the name applied to the feature on all Federal products, electronic or printed. (Source: Principles, Policies, and Procedures: Domestic Geographic Names, By Donald J. Orth, Executive Secretary, Domestic Geographic Names (emeritus) and Roger L. Payne, Executive Secretary, United States Board on Geographic Names and Domestic Geographic Names, Third printing (revised) and Preliminary Online Edition, 1997 (<http://geonames.usgs.gov/docs/pro_pol_pro.pdf>).)

Formal codeset

Codeset Name:

Principles, Policies, and Procedures: Domestic Geographic Names

Codeset Source:

Principles, Policies, and Procedures: Domestic Geographic Names, By Donald J. Orth, Executive Secretary, Domestic Geographic Names (emeritus) and Roger L. Payne, Executive Secretary, United States Board on Geographic Names and Domestic Geographic Names, Third printing (revised) and Preliminary Online Edition, 1997 (<http://geonames.usgs.gov/docs/pro_pol_pro.pdf>).

Feature Variant Name

A variant name is a current or historical name or spelling for a geographic feature other than its official name determined by an authoritative source to be useful for reference to, identification of, or location of a geographic feature, and which is supported by documentary or physical evidence or references as defined in the Names Data Users Guide. A geographic feature may have any number of variant names. (Source: Principles, Policies, and Procedures: Domestic Geographic Names, By Donald J. Orth, Executive Secretary, Domestic Geographic Names (emeritus) and Roger L. Payne, Executive Secretary, United States Board on Geographic Names and Domestic Geographic Names, Third printing (revised) and Preliminary Online Edition, 1997 (<http://geonames.usgs.gov/docs/pro_pol_pro.pdf>).)

Formal codeset

Codeset Name:

Principles, Policies, and Procedures: Domestic Geographic Names

Codeset Source:

Principles, Policies, and Procedures: Domestic Geographic Names, By Donald J. Orth, Executive Secretary, Domestic Geographic Names (emeritus) and Roger L. Payne, Executive Secretary, United States Board on Geographic Names and Domestic Geographic Names, Third printing (revised) and Preliminary Online Edition, 1997 (<http://geonames.usgs.gov/docs/pro_pol_pro.pdf>).

Primary Point

The official feature location is a single point to which the official feature name is associated in order to ensure positive and unique identification and association, also referred to as the primary point. The location is determined by the authoritative source and is approved or recognized as official by the U.S. Board on Geographic Names by decision or by policy delegation to the authoritative source. The placing of the location point is governed by policies of the Board as defined in the Names Data Users Guide and GNIS metadata, generally at or near the geographic center, but there are exceptions for certain classes of features. For example, the official feature location of flowing bodies of water (streams, rivers, creeks, etc.) or trending linear features (valleys, gulchs, gullys, hollows, etc.) is at the mouth. A geographic feature may have only one official location regardless of size, extent, composition, structure, or boundaries. The location point is coincident with, but in addition to and independent of, any other geospatial representation or boundary definition that may be attached to the feature in other datasets. Linear and aerial features may have secondary points as defined in the Names Data Users Guide and GNIS metadata. Locations are stored in the Geographic Names Information System as latitude and longitude in decimal degrees to seven places, North American Datum 1983 (NAD83), and are available in geospatial format as needed. (Note: Records showing all zeros for latitude and longitude indicate that the coordinates of the feature are unknown. They are recorded in the database as zeros to satisfy the format requirements of a numerical data type. They are not errors and do not reference the actual geographic coordinates at 0 latitude, 0 longitude.) (Source: Geographic Names Project, USGS, 523 National Center, Reston, VA 20192-0523.)

Range of values

Minimum:

-90.0000000 latitude

Maximum:

72.0000000 latitude

Units:

Decimal degrees

Resolution:

0.0000001

Range of values

Minimum:

-180.0000000 longitude

Maximum:

180.0000000 longitude

Units:

Decimal degrees

Resolution:

0.0000001

Secondary Point

The latitude and longitude of a point locating a linear or areal geographic feature on a map of the USGS National Base Map series (at a scale of 1:24000 or 1:25000) other than the map containing the primary point. With one exception (i.e., the point representing the source of a stream, valley or arroyo may be on the same map as the primary point) a feature is assigned one point per map on which it is located. The points are sequenced. Sequence number one is always the primary point and the remaining points are secondary points. For a linear feature with feature class equal to valley, stream, or arroyo, the points are sequenced from mouth toward the source and the highest sequence number is the source. For other linear features and for areal features, secondary points are sequenced according to guidelines of the U.S. Board On Geographic Names. The location of the point on the feature within the map is arbitrary. This method of associating features with maps was conceived prior to geographic information system technology and has been retained as a useful approximation of feature extent and a reference to printed maps. These points do not represent boundaries or geometries and should not be confused with them. Secondary points are stored in the Geographic Names Information System as latitude and longitude in decimal degrees to seven places, North American Datum 1983 (NAD83), and are available in geospatial format as needed. (Note: Records showing all zeros for latitude and longitude indicate that the coordinates of the feature are unknown. They are recorded in the database as zeros to satisfy the format requirements of a numerical data type. They are not errors and do not reference the actual geographic coordinates at 0 latitude, 0 longitude.) (Source: Geographic Names Project, USGS, 523 National Center, Reston, VA 20192-0523.)

Range of values

Minimum:

-90.0000000

Maximum:

72.0000000

Units:

Decimal degrees

Resolution:

0.0000001

Range of values

Minimum:

-180.0000000

Maximum:

180.0000000

Units:

Decimal degrees

Resolution:

0.0000001

Country

The country or countries containing the geographic feature. This dataset contains features in the United States and territories, features in Canada or Mexico that extend into the United States, and features in the following associated areas of the United States: the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, the Republic of Palau. The dataset also contains features in Antarctica, which for data purposes is treated as a country. This is relational data, not spatial data. The data owner specifies the value(s) associated with each geographic feature. Values are represented by country name and country alpha code. These data applies particularly to features for which there is no known, recognized, standard, or available boundary data. (Source: Geographic Names Project, USGS, 523 National Center, Reston, VA 20192-0523.)

Value

Definition

United States (US)

United States

Canada (CA)

Canada

Mexico (MX)

Mexico

Micronesia (FM)

Federated States of Micronesia

Marshall Islands (RM)

Republic of the Marshall Islands

Palau (PS)

Republic of Palau.

Antarctica (AY)

Antarctica

State

The State or States or State equivalents containing the geographic feature. This dataset contains features in States of the United States, the District of Columbia, territories, outlying areas of the United States, and associated areas. This is relational data, not spatial data. The data owner specifies the value(s) associated with each geographic feature. Values are represented by state name, state numeric code, and state alpha code. The primary State is the State containing the primary point and is assigned sequence number one. Secondary States are those other than the primary State containing the feature and are sequenced according to guidelines of the Board on Geographic Names, consistent with the primary and secondary counties containing the feature. For linear features (streams, valleys, arroyos) the sequencing is from mouth toward source. This data may be particularly helpful for features having no known, recognized, standard, or available boundary data. (Source: Geographic Names Project, USGS, 523 National Center, Reston, VA 20192-0523.)

Formal codeset

Codeset Name:

Codes for the Identification of the States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the Insular Areas of the United States.

Codeset Source:

INCITS 38:200x, (Formerly FIPS 5-2) Codes for the Identification of the States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the Insular Areas of the United States.

County

The county or counties or county equivalents containing the geographic feature. This dataset contains features in counties or county equivalents of the States of the United States, the District of Columbia, territories, outlying areas of the United States, and associated areas. This is relational data, not spatial data. The data owner specifies the value(s) associated with each geographic feature. Values are represented by county name and county numeric code. The primary county is the county containing the primary point and is assigned sequence number one. Secondary counties are those other than the primary county containing the feature and are sequenced according to guidelines of the Board on Geographic Names. For linear features (streams, valleys, arroyos) the sequencing is from mouth toward source. This data applies particularly to features for which there is no known, recognized, standard, or available boundary data. (Source: Geographic Names Project, USGS, 523 National Center, Reston, VA 20192-0523.)

Formal codeset

Codeset Name:

Codes for the Identification of Counties and Equivalent Entities of the United States, its Possessions, and Insular Areas.

Codeset Source:

INCITS 31:200x, (Formerly FIPS 6-4) Codes for the Identification of Counties and Equivalent Entities of the United States, its Possessions, and Insular Areas.

Feature Class

A feature class is a designation for a group of features in a broadly defined descriptive category. All features are assigned to one and only one class. They do not individually classify all kinds of cultural and natural features. By design, there are no Federal or industry standards or guidelines for feature classification. These classifications originally were developed for mainframe file structure search purposes. Although the terms are generally consistent with dictionary definitions, they may not conform exactly and are not always intuitive. (Source: Geographic Names Project, USGS, 523 National Center, Reston, VA 20192-0523 (gnis_manager@usgs.gov).)

Formal codeset

Codeset Name:

Feature class values and definitions for the Geographic Names Information System (http://geonames.usgs.gov). See Definitions (http://geonames.usgs.gov/pls/gnispublic/f?p=gnispq:8).

Codeset Source:

Geographic Names Project, USGS, 523 National Center, Reston, VA 20192-0523 (gnis_manager@usgs.gov).

Feature Designation

A feature designation is assigned to a feature or group of features to define further and classify feature functions, purpose, and attributes. For example, a feature designated historical is one that once existed but has ceased to exist, is no longer apparent on the landscape, and/or no longer serves its original purpose. Other examples include State Capitol, County Seat, Independent City, and Subdivision. A feature may have more than one designation. Designations and their definitions will be added as needed. (Source: Geographic Names Project, USGS, 523 National Center, Reston, VA 20192-0523 (gnis_manager@usgs.gov).)

Formal codeset

Codeset Name:

Feature designation values and definitions for the Geographic Names Information System (http://geonames.usgs.gov).

Codeset Source:

Geographic Names Project, USGS, 523 National Center, Reston, VA 20192-0523 (gnis_manager@usgs.gov).

Feature Description

A feature description is amplifying, clarifying, or unusual characteristics of or information about a feature or the feature data in the Geographic Names Information System. This is unstructured textual data entered when available and not present for all entries. Additional information from any source is welcome. (Source: Geographic Names Project, USGS, 523 National Center, Reston, VA 20192-0523.)

Unstructured text data.

Feature History

A feature history is a description of the name origin, and physical and/or cultural history of a feature. This is unstructured textual data entered when available and not present for all entries. Additional information from any source is welcome. (Source: Geographic Names Project, USGS, 523 National Center, Reston, VA 20192-0523.)

Unstructured text data.

Elevation

The elevation above sea level of the feature at the primary point (positive number) or depth of a feature at the lowest point below sea level (negative number). By default, elevations are provided in meters. For custom data extracts, elevations can be provided in either feet or meters depending on user requirements. Elevation figures are not official and do not represent precisely measured or surveyed values. The data are extracted from the National Elevation Dataset (<http://ned.usgs.gov/>) for the primary coordinates and may differ from elevations cited in other sources. The differences will be most evident for features such as summits where precision is of more concern and where the local relief (rate of change of elevation) may be more prominent. However, the elevation figures are within tolerances for the data for most points and sufficiently accurate for purposes of general information. (Source: Geographic Names Project, USGS, 523 National Center, Reston, VA 20192-0523.)

Range of values

Minimum:

-4,115

Maximum:

6,250

Units:

Meters

USGS Map Name

The name of the standard USGS 7.5x7.5 minute quadrangle map(s) containing the representation of the feature. (Source: Geographic Names Project, USGS, 523 National Center, Reston, VA 20192-0523.)

Formal codeset

Codeset Name:

The Geographic Names Information System (GNIS)

Codeset Source:

The official database of names assigned to standard USGS products according to USGS policy and procedures, including standard 7.5x7.5 minute quadrangle maps and digital products. Geographic Names Project, USGS, 523 National Center, Reston, VA 20192-0523 (gnis_manager@usgs.gov).

Census Code

Originally the "Place Code," a five-digit feature record identifier in the Federal Information Processing Standard (FIPS) 55 database, but now used only for internal purposes by the Census Bureau and renamed for clarity. To be unique, the Census Code must be preceded by the two-digit State code. The FIPS55 database and data were merged with the Geographic Names Information System. The GNIS Feature ID superseded the Census (Place) Code as the Federal standard unique, permanent, feature identifier and will over time replace it in all Federal systems. Census Codes are retained in the GNIS during the transition, and are viewable and downloadable from the GNIS public web site. (Source: Geographic Names Project, USGS, 523 National Center, Reston, VA 20192-0523 (gnis_manager@usgs.gov).)

Range of values

Minimum:

00001

Maximum:

99999

Census Class Code

Formerly the Federal Information Processing Standard (FIPS) 55-3 Class Code. The FIPS 55-3 has been withdrawn as a federal standard. The Class Code now is a nonstandard code maintained by the Census Bureau for internal purposes. It is maintained in the GNIS through collaboration with the Census Bureau and provided through the GNIS products and services for the convenience of other systems that still use it. This code is not otherwise used or referenced in the GNIS. (Source: Geographic Names Project, USGS, 523 National Center, Reston, VA 20192-0523 (gnis_manager@usgs.gov).)

Formal codeset

Codeset Name:

Census Bureau Class Code. See Definitions (http://geonames.usgs.gov/pls/gnispublic/f?p=gnispq:6).

Codeset Source:

U.S. Census Bureau

GSA Code

General Services Administration (GSA) location code. Maintained by GSA as a place reference for administrative and personnel purposes. It is maintained in the GNIS through collaboration with the GSA and provided in GNIS products and services for convenience of users. Not otherwise used or referenced by the GNIS. The code is four digits in fixed-length format with leading zeros. The code is only unique within states and therefore may be preceded by the two digit numeric state code to achieve uniqueness. (Source: Geographic Names Project, USGS, 523 National Center, Reston, VA 20192-0523 (gnis_manager@usgs.gov).)

Range of values

Minimum:

0000

Maximum:

9999

OPM Code

Office of Personnel Management (OPM) location code. Maintained by OPM as a place reference for administrative and personnel purposes. It is maintained in the GNIS through collaboration with the OPM and provided in GNIS products and services for convenience of users. Not otherwise used or referenced by the GNIS. The code is four digits in fixed-length format with leading zeros, preceded by the two digit numeric state code to achieve uniqueness, and followed by the three digit county numeric code to define association with the county or counties containing the feature. (Source: Geographic Names Project, USGS, 523 National Center, Reston, VA 20192-0523 (gnis_manager@usgs.gov).)

Range of values

Minimum:

010000000

Maximum:

999999999

Bibliographic Reference Citation

The authoritative source reference for a feature name or variant in accordance with Board on Geographic Names policies--a document, map, dataset, website, office, or other source, normally but not necessarily of government origin. (Source: Geographic Names Project, USGS, 523 National Center, Reston, VA 20192-0523 (gnis_manager@usgs.gov).)

Formal codeset

Codeset Name:

Bibliographic reference descriptions for the Geographic Names Information System (http://geonames.usgs.gov).

Codeset Source:

Geographic Names Project, USGS, 523 National Center, Reston, VA 20192-0523 (gnis_manager@usgs.gov).

BGN Decision Date

The year or date of the U.S. Board on Geographic Names decision concerning the name. (Source: Geographic Names Project, USGS, 523 National Center, Reston, VA 20192-0523 (gnis_manager@usgs.gov).)

BGN decision year or date

Date Created

The date the geographic feature record was initially committed to the database and made available through GNIS products and services. (Source: Geographic Names Project, USGS, 523 National Center, Reston, VA 20192-0523 (gnis_manager@usgs.gov).)

Record create date

Date Edited

The date one or more attributes of an existing geographic feature record were last edited. The attributes edited are not specified. (Source: Geographic Names Project, USGS, 523 National Center, Reston, VA 20192-0523 (gnis_manager@usgs.gov).)

Record last edited date

Who produced the data set?

  1. Who are the originators of the data set? (may include formal authors, digital compilers, and editors)
    • U.S. Geological Survey
  2. Who also contributed to the data set?

The Geographic Names Information System was developed by the U.S. Geological Survey in cooperation with the U.S. Board on Geographic Names.

  1. To whom should users address questions about the data?

Louis A. Yost
U.S. Geological Survey
Chief, Geographic Names Project
523 National Center
Reston, Virginia 20192

703 648 4552 (voice)
gnis_manager@usgs.gov

Hours_of_Service: Monday through Friday 0730-1700 Eastern Time

Why was the data set created?

The Geographic Names Information System contains information about physical and cultural geographic features of all types in the United States, associated areas, and Antarctica, current and historical, but not including roads and highways. The database holds the Federally recognized name of each feature and defines the feature location by state, county, USGS topographic map, and geographic coordinates. Other attributes include names or spellings other than the official name, feature designations, feature classification, historical and descriptive information, and for some categories the geometric boundaries. The database assigns a unique, permanent feature identifier, the Feature ID, as a standard Federal key for accessing, integrating, or reconciling feature data from multiple data sets. The GNIS collects data from a broad program of partnerships with Federal, State, and local government agencies and other authorized contributors. The GNIS provides data to all levels of government and to the public, as well as to numerous applications through a web query site, web map and feature services, file download services, and customized files upon request.

How was the data set created?

  1. From what previous works were the data drawn?

USGS (source 1 of 5)

U.S. Geological Survey, Unknown, 1:24,000-scale topographic maps: U.S. Geological Survey, Reston, VA.

Type_of_Source_Media: paper

Source_Scale_Denominator: 24000

Source_Contribution: Feature names and attribute data.

USBGN (source 2 of 5)

U.S. Geological Survey, Unpublished material, Records of the U.S. Board on Geographic Names.

Type_of_Source_Media: card, paper, and electronic files

Source_Contribution: Feature names and attribute information

USFS (source 3 of 5)

U.S. Forest Service, Unknown, U.S. Forest Service 1:24,000-scale topographic maps and visitor maps.

Type_of_Source_Media: paper

Source_Scale_Denominator: 24000

Source_Contribution: Feature names and attribute information

NOAA/NOS (source 4 of 5)

National Ocean Service (NOS), Unknown, National Ocean Service charts.

Type_of_Source_Media: paper

Source_Contribution: Feature names and attribute information

Various (source 5 of 5)

The State Names Authorities, Council of Geographic Names Authorities (COGNA), U.S. Forest Service, National Ocean Service (NOS), National Park Service (NPS), Other Federal, state and local agencies, and Public, Unknown, Unknown.

Other_Citation_Details:

Since the original data compilation was completed from the original sources, GNIS accepts data or data changes for consideration from any source, and upon validation by the Board on Geographic Names or the appropriate Federal or state agency, will enter the data into the database. The GNIS has an active data gathering and maintenance program. A web-based data entry and edit application allows authorized users to submit transaction data directly for validation and entry into the database, where it immediately becomes available to all web services and applications. A test and demonstration site with no connection to production data is available for review, training, and familiarization. Batch files will be accepted in most standard formats. Government agencies at all levels are encouraged to join this program. Other organizations and individuals will be considered on a case basis. For additional information or to request user accounts for entry and edit of production data and web seminar training, contact gnis_manager@usgs.gov.

Type_of_Source_Media: Multiple electronic or text media types.

Source_Contribution: Feature names and attribute information

  1. How were the data generated, processed, and modified?

Date: May-1981 (process 1 of 4)

GNIS Phase I data compilation and edit - Feature name and attribute data were collected from the largest-scale USGS topographic maps available. These data are compared to the records of the U.S. Board on Geographic Names.

Person who carried out this activity:

Roger L. Payne
U.S. Geological Survey
Chief, Geographic Names Project
523 National Center
Reston, Virginia 20192

703 648 4552 (voice)
gnis_manager@usgs.gov

Hours_of_Service: Monday through Friday 0730-1700 Eastern Time

Data sources used in this process:

    • USGS
    • USBGN

Date: Not complete (process 2 of 4)

GNIS Phase II data compilation and edit - Feature name and attribute data are collected from official state and local sources and other approved sources including historical maps and documents.

Person who carried out this activity:

Louis A. Yost
U.S. Geological Survey
Chief, Geographic Names Project
523 National Center
Reston, Virginia 20192

703 648 4552 (voice)
gnis_manager@usgs.gov

Hours_of_Service: Monday through Friday 0730-1700 Eastern Time

Data sources used in this process:

    • USGS
    • USBGN

Date: Not complete (process 3 of 4)

GNIS Maintenance program - Federal and state maintenance cooperators submit new and corrected data in conjunction with their mapping and geographical information system data maintenance programs. The GNIS has an active data gathering and maintenance program. A web-based data entry and edit application allows authorized users to submit transaction data directly for validation and entry into the database, where it immediately becomes available to all web services and applications. A test and demonstration site with no connection to production data is available for review, training, and familiarization. Batch files will be accepted in most standard formats. Government agencies at all levels are encouraged to join this program. Other organizations and individuals will be considered on a case basis. For additional information or to request user accounts for entry and edit of production data and web seminar training, contact gnis_manager@usgs.gov or the individual below.

Person who carried out this activity:

Louis A. Yost
U.S. Geological Survey
Chief, Geographic Names Project
523 National Center
Reston, Virginia 20192

703 648 4552 (voice)
gnis_manager@usgs.gov

Hours_of_Service: 0900-1700 Eastern time

Data sources used in this process:

    • USGS
    • USBGN
    • USFS
    • Various
    • NOAA/NOS

Date: Not complete (process 4 of 4)

Partnerships - the Geographic Names Project enters into partnerships with State names authorities and State and local GIS agencies to integrate name, location, and attribute data in the GNIS with State and local datasets. These partnerships utilize GIS and web technology to automate and simplify data maintenance, ensure data consistency, integrity, and accuracy, and meet the requirements of the Board on Geographic Names for national names standardization. Government agencies at all levels are encouraged to join this program. Other organizations and individuals will be considered on a case basis. For additional information contact the individual below.

Person who carried out this activity:

Louis A. Yost
U.S. Geological Survey
Chief, Geographic Names Project
523 National Center
Reston, Virginia 20192

703 648 4552 (voice)
gnis_manager@usgs.gov

Hours_of_Service: Monday through Friday 0730-1700 Eastern Time

  1. What similar or related data should the user be aware of?

U.S. Geological Survey, Unknown, Geodata.gov, Geospatial One-Stop.

Online Links:

Other_Citation_Details:

Geodata.gov is a geographic information system (GIS) portal, also known as the Geospatial One-Stop (GOS) that serves as a public gateway for improving access to geospatial information and data under the Geospatial One-Stop E-Government initiative. Geospatial One-Stop is one of 24 E-Government initiatives sponsored by the Federal Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to enhance government efficiency and to improve citizen services. See the Geographic Names community in geodata.gov.

U.S. Geological Survey, Unknown, The National Map.

Online Links:

Other_Citation_Details:

The National Map, is a seamless, continuously maintained set of public domain geographic base information that serves as a foundation for integrating, sharing, and using other data easily and consistently. The National Map viewer is a Web-enabled portal to all of the geospatial information contained in The National Map. This portal not only supports on-line access to the geospatial information, but also allows the download of digital data and creation of cartographic products. The GNIS supports The National Map as the source for the gazetteer search in Find Place function of The National Map viewer and as active names layers.

U.S. Geological Survey, Unknown, The National Atlas.

Online Links:

Other_Citation_Details:

The National Atlas summarizes national-scale geographical information and delivers easy to use, map-like views of America's natural and sociocultural landscapes. This digital version revises a large bound collection of paper maps that was published in 1970. The Atlas serves a diverse populace as an essential reference, a framework for information discovery, an instrument of education, an aid in research, and a reliable source of government information. It includes stimulating products and services for children and adults to understand complex relationships among environments, places, and people. It contributes to our knowledge of the environmental, resource, demographic, economic, social, political, and historical dimensions of American life. Though it cannot display detailed map information, the Atlas directs users to other sources for this information. The GNIS provides geographic feature, location, and attribute data to the National Atlas.

U.S. Geological Survey, Unknown, The National Hydrography Dataset.

Online Links:

Other_Citation_Details:

The National Hydrography Dataset (NHD) is a comprehensive set of digital spatial data that contains information about surface water features such as lakes, ponds, streams, rivers, springs and wells. Within the NHD, surface water features are combined to form "reaches," which provide the framework for linking water-related data to the NHD surface water drainage network. These linkages enable the analysis and display of these water-related data in upstream and downstream order. The GNIS provides geographic feature name data to the National Hydrography Dataset.

National Geospatial Agency (NGA), Unknown, GEOnet Names Server.

Online Links:

Other_Citation_Details:

The GEOnet Names Server (GNS) provides access to the National Geospatial Agency (NGA) database of foreign geographic feature names. The database is the official repository of foreign place-name decisions approved by the U.S. Board on Geographic Names (US BGN). Approximately 20,000 of the database's features are updated monthly.

U.S. Census Bureau, Unknown, LandView.

Online Links:

Other_Citation_Details:

LandView is a desktop mapping system that searches and maps selected information from the Environmental Protection Agency, the Census Bureau, and the U.S. Geological Survey. LandView contains a large subset of GNIS feature, location, and attribute data for the United States. It is available on DVD. See the LandView web site for information concerning the latest edition and ordering.

How reliable are the data; what problems remain in the data set?

  1. How well have the observations been checked?

During Phase I data compilation, a random sample of 10% of the entries in the system were visually verified against the compilation source data (large-scale USGS topographic maps) to ensure an accuracy rate of at least 95%. Subsequent data compilation and input processes ensure accuracy with programmed validation checks for format and content, visual examination, and spot checks of data.

  1. How accurate are the geographic locations?

Accuracy of these digital data is based upon the use of printed or electronic source graphics which are compiled to meet National Map Accuracy Standards. Comparison to the graphic source is used as control to assess digital positional accuracy.

  1. How accurate are the heights or depths?
  2. Where are the gaps in the data? What is missing?

This dataset contains information about United States physical and cultural geographic features of all types and classes, with the exception of most roads and highways. Subsequent to the original data compilation process, which was taken primarily from Federal maps, the GNIS has become dependent on input from Federal, State, county, and local government agencies and other approved sources. The completeness, currency, and accuracy of the data varies by area depending on the quality and timeliness of that input. Accordingly, the Geographic Names Project actively seeks to expand partnerships with Government agencies at all levels and other interested organizations. The latest tools and methodologies are being applied, including web map and feature services, and joint or linked web applications, to ensure that local data are properly represented in the GNIS and through the GNIS to all Federal agencies and to the public. Feature additions or corrections are accepted for consideration from any source, and when validated by appropriate agencies, will be entered into the database. Local and State agencies are encouraged to submit data and to participate in the GNIS partnership program. Non-government organizations with valuable data are considered on a case basis. Authorized partners have access to web based transaction entry and edit forms, which submit data directly to the GNIS for review and inclusion in the database. Partners also submit batch files in most standard formats, and coordinate with the Geographic Names Project to develop joint services, processes, and applications for greatest efficiency. Data entered into the GNIS immediately is available to all web services and applications dependent on it. For additional information or to request user accounts for entry and edit of production data and web seminar training, contact gnis_manager@usgs.gov.

  1. How consistent are the relationships among the observations, including topology?

During Phase I data compilation, a random sample of 10% of the entries in the system were visually verified against the compilation source data (large-scale USGS topographic maps) to ensure logical consistency of locative references (geographic coordinates, topographic map, and county. Subsequent data compilation and input processes include programmed validation checks for logical consistency, visual examination, and spot checks of data.

How can someone get a copy of the data set?

Are there legal restrictions on access or use of the data?

Access_Constraints: None

Use_Constraints:

None. Acknowledgement of the U.S. Geological Survey would be appreciated in products derived from these data.

  1. Who distributes the data set? (Distributor 1 of 1)

Geographic Names Project, U.S. Geological Survey
523 National Center
Reston, Virginia 20192

703 648 4552 (voice)
gnis_manager@usgs.gov

Hours_of_Service: Monday through Friday 0730-1700 Eastern Time

  1. What's the catalog number I need to order this data set?

None

  1. What legal disclaimers am I supposed to read?

Although these data have been processed successfully on a computer system at the U.S. Geological Survey, no warranty expressed or implied is made by the USGS regarding the utility of the data on any other system, nor shall the act of distribution constitute any such warranty. The Geological Survey will warrant the delivery of this product in computer-readable format.

  1. How can I download or order the data?
    • Availability in digital form:

Data format:

All GNIS data may be queried, displayed, and/or printed from the public web site in format HTML.

Network links:

<http://geonames.usgs.gov/pls/gnispublic>

    • Cost to order the data: None
    • Availability in digital form:

Data format:

Datasets of under 2000 records may be queried and displayed from the public web site and downloaded in format ASCII.

Network links:

<http://geonames.usgs.gov/pls/gnispublic>

    • Cost to order the data: None
    • Availability in digital form:

Data format:

Primary attributes are available from the names layers served through an ESRI ArcGIS web map service. The following are instructions for access by ESRI ArcMap. For other tools, please adjust accordingly. 1) Click Add Data, 2) expand drop-down to GIS Servers, 3) select Add WMS Server, 4) enter the following full URL, 5) click Get Layers, then click OK, (The service is added to the list of available servers), 6) select service if not already highlighted, 7) click Add, 8) select the service again in pop up box, 9) click Add. The layers should appear in the ArcMap table of contents. No data will appear until you zoom in far enough over continental the US. The layers display at varying resolutions. See these same layers in The National Map viewer under the Names category in the layer list. The names layers do not include all attributes. Customized files of large data sets also can be provided on request in most standard formats including shape files. The data is presented in format Arc SDE.

Network links:

http://services.nationalmap.gov/ArcGIS/services/geonames/MapServer/WMSServer

    • Cost to order the data: None
    • Availability in digital form:

Data format:

Primary attributes are available from the GNIS XML service. Instructions: Insert desired parameter value(s) in single quotes following the equals sign. Do not change or delete unused parameters. Parameter definitions: fname = feature name. (Exact match. Not case sensitive.) state = state name. (Exact match. Case sensitive.) cnty = county name. (Exact match. Not case sensitive.) cell = USGS standard topographic map name. (Exact match. Not case sensitive.) ftype = feature type (class). See the GNIS public query page (<http://geonames.usgs.gov/pls/gnispublic/>). The pick list for feature class contains the values. Note that the value (populated place) in the pick list is abbreviated (ppl) in the data. See question 14, How can I acquire GNIS data?, of our FAQ (<http://geonames.usgs.gov/domestic/faqs.htm>) for more details and sample URLs. As currently implemented, it is for relatively small data set queries not for mass downloads. It does not include all attributes. Customized files of large data sets also can be provided on request in most standard formats. The data is presented in format XML.

Network links:

http://geonames.usgs.gov/pls/gnis/x?fname=&state=&cnty=&cell=&ftype=

    • Cost to order the data: None
    • Availability in digital form:

Data format:

Data extract files for States and territories are available for download via web browser. Topical extracts of the data base are also available: the U.S. Populated Places File lists information about all communities throughout the United States that are described in the database; the U.S. Concise File lists information about major physical and cultural features throughout the United States that are described in the database; the Historical Features File lists information about features which are no longer in existence and/or no longer serve their original purpose; the All Names File lists all names, both official and nonofficial (variant), for all features in the nation; and the Antarctica File contains entries throughout the continent of Antarctica as approved for use by the United States Government. The data is presented in format ASCII, UTF-8, or UTF-16.

Network links:

<http://geonames.usgs.gov/>

    • Cost to order the data: None
  1. Is there some other way to get the data?

Custom data sets may be requested in most standard formats including ASCII, UTF-8, UTF-16, shape, .xls, and Oracle extract. Contact gnis_manager@usgs.gov

Who wrote the metadata?

Dates:

Last modified: 18-Aug-2009

Metadata author:

Louis A. Yost
U.S. Geological Survey
Chief, Geographic Names Project
523 National Center
Reston, Virginia 20192

703 648 4552 (voice)

Metadata standard:

Content Standard for Digital Geospatial Metadata (FGDC-STD-001-1998)

 

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