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Geographic Names In the United States. U.S. Board on Geographic Names & the Geographic Names Information System (GNIS). Lou Yost U.S. Geological Survey & U.S. Board on Geographic Names Geospatial 2007 May 2007. U.S. Department of the Interior U.S. Geological Survey.

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Geographic Names

In the United States

U.S. Board on Geographic Names &

the Geographic Names Information System (GNIS)

Lou Yost

U.S. Geological Survey & U.S. Board on Geographic Names

Geospatial 2007

May 2007

U.S. Department of the Interior

U.S. Geological Survey


Names – A Key Component of Geographic Knowledge

Webster Groves, MO-IL 7.5-minute topographic map


Need for standardization in the late nineteenth century
Need For StandardizationIn The Late Nineteenth Century





The solution u s board on geographic names
The Solution – conflicting maps & documentsU.S. Board on Geographic Names

  • Provides for uniformity in geographic nomenclature and orthographythroughout the Federal government

  • Formulates principles, policies, and proceduresfor domestic and foreign geographic names

  • Promulgates in the name of the Board:

    • Decisions with respect to geographic names and locations

    • Principles of geographic nomenclature and orthography


U s board on geographic names
U.S. Board on Geographic Names conflicting maps & documents

Policies

  • Commemorative Names

  • Wilderness Areas

  • Derogatory Names

  • Genitive Case


U s board on geographic names1
U.S. Board on Geographic Names conflicting maps & documents

  • No Federal Agency May CHANGE or ADD Unilaterally Any Name on Any Product For Any Reason Without BGN Approval – by Policy or Procedure

  • An Agency May Choose to Leave the Name Off a Map or Out of a Publication


Standardization not regulation
Standardization not Regulation conflicting maps & documents

Why Standardize Feature Names and Locations?

  • Homeland Security/Homeland Defense

  • Civil Support

  • Emergency Preparedness & Response

  • Regional & Local Planning

  • Site Selection & Analysis

  • Cartographic Application

  • Environmental Problem-solving

  • Tourism

  • All Levels of Communication

The implications of incorrect, inaccurate, or contradictory feature data appearing simultaneously from multiple sources are, if anything, more serious today.


Usbgn gnis
USBGN conflicting maps & documentsGNIS

  • In 1987, the U.S. Board on Geographic Names Designated the Geographic Names Information System (GNIS) as the Only Official Vehicle For Geographic Names Use By the Federal Government

  • Therefore, Federal Law Prescribes That GNIS Be Used As the Only Source for Applying Geographic Names to Federal Maps & Other Products


Geographic names information system
Geographic Names Information System conflicting maps & documents

  • Official Federal source for feature names and locations

  • Base theme of The National Map

  • Authoritative A16 database for geographic names

  • Conforms to Board principles, policies, guidelines

  • 30 Years of Data from authoritative sources

  • Stable, mature geographic information system

  • Full national coverage, consistent, seamless

  • Quality assured, prevents duplication

  • Open, interoperable, available, web services

  • Functioning partner base – Federal, State, Local, Tribal

  • Large user community of long standing


Two million and growing fast
Two Million – And Growing Fast conflicting maps & documents

  • 502,000 hydrographic features – Synchronized with NHD

  • 395,000 cultural features –

    • Cemetery, Dam, Locale, Mine, Military (historical), Oilfield, Tower, Trail, Well

  • 376,000 structural features

    • Airport, Building, Church, Hospital, School, Post Office

  • 257,000 landforms – In no other layer of The National Map

  • 170,000 populated places

  • 100,000 admin features

    • Civil, Forest, Park, Reserve

  • 97,000 historical features – In no other layer

  • 14,000 transportation point features

    • Bridge, Crossing, Tunnel

  • (14,000 Antarctica features)

    Thousands added per month. If its not in GNIS, it should be.


Gnis phase i ia
GNIS Phase I & IA conflicting maps & documents

  • Named features on the most current, large scale Federal maps and charts

    • USGS topographic maps

    • Forest Service base maps & visitor maps

    • National Ocean Service charts

    • National Park Service maps


Gnis phase ii
GNIS Phase II conflicting maps & documents

  • Available information from official State and local sources, other approved sources, and historical maps and documents

  • Includes ALL content categories except roads and highways


Electronic maintenance program
Electronic Maintenance Program conflicting maps & documents

Since 1987

  • U.S. Board on Geographic Names

  • U.S. Geological Survey

  • U.S. Forest Service (1997)

  • Office of Coast Survey (1997)

  • National Hydrography Data Set (NHD) Partners

    • Synchronized 1997

  • National Park Service (1999)

  • Bureau of Land Management (2005)

  • Fish & Wildlife Service (soon)

  • General Services Agency (MOU in for signature)


Feature class defined functionally
Feature Class – Defined conflicting maps & documentsFunctionally

No Official Feature Classification Schemas


Compilation methodology
Compilation Methodology conflicting maps & documents

  • Three types of data at the base map scale (1:24,000)


Compilation methodology1
Compilation Methodology conflicting maps & documents

  • Point – almost always in one county (could be in two if on the boundary of two counties) and on one topographic map

    • Record only a set of primary coordinates

    • Examples – small reservoir (tank), falls, rapids, channel, spring, canal, or dam


Compilation methodology2
Compilation Methodology conflicting maps & documents

  • Linear – may be in one or more counties and on one or more topographic maps Examples – stream, valley, arroyo

    • Record a set of primary coordinates for the mouth of the feature, which is where it enters another body of water or opens into another feature

    • Record secondary sets of coordinates for each occurrence of the feature on a different topo map in order upstream


Compilation methodology3
Compilation Methodology conflicting maps & documents

  • Linear (continued)

    • Record a set of coordinates for the source in a separate field (HEADS)

    • IT IS THE RESPONSIBILITY OF THE COMPILER TO DETERMINE THE ABSOLUTE SOURCE -at the beginning of the longest, straightest drain


Compilation methodology4
Compilation Methodology conflicting maps & documents

  • Area – may be in one or more counties and on one or more topographic maps

    • Record a set of primary coordinates at the approximate center of the feature – it is the responsibility of the compiler to determine the approximate center

    • Examples - lake, bay, swamp, harbor,


Compilation methodology5
Compilation Methodology conflicting maps & documents

  • Area (continued)

    • Exception to recording the primary coordinates at the center of an areal feature is:

      • Reservoir – record the primary coordinates at the dam


Compilation methodology6
Compilation Methodology conflicting maps & documents

  • Area (continued)

    • Record one set of secondary coordinates for each occurrence on a different topographic map

    • IT IS THE RESPONSIBILITY OF THE COMPILER TO DETERMINE THE EXTENT OF THE FEATURE


Feature points
Feature Points conflicting maps & documents

1 = Primary Point> 1 = Secondary PointsOne per quad

7.5°

7

PointAt 24/25k

6

7.5°

1

(85% Features)

Source

5

8

7

6

4

3

2

1

2

Linear

Areal

5

1

3

4

Mouth

Approximate center


Accessing feature data
Accessing Feature Data conflicting maps & documents

  • Feature data available through GNIS:

    • Public web query site (http://geonames.usgs.gov/pls/gnispublic/)

    • File Download Services (http://geonames.usgs.gov/domestic/download_data.htm)

    • Web map, feature and XML services

    • Customized files on request

    • Collaborative efforts on common application interfaces

    • Other mechanisms in the future

The Geographic Names Information System contains other non-standard attributes—feature classification, secondary points, feature State(s) and county(ies), history, description, designations


Geographic names information system1
Geographic Names Information System conflicting maps & documents

MAINTENANCE WEBSITE

http://geonames.usgs.gov/pls/htmldb/f?p=gnis

Add

Edit


Geographic names information system2
Geographic Names Information System conflicting maps & documents

MAINTENANCE WEBSITE

For Access Contact Joan Helmrich

703-648-4622

[email protected]


The end
The End conflicting maps & documents

Thank you for your attendance.

Questions?


Contacts
Contacts conflicting maps & documents

Lou Yost

  • (703) 648-4552

  • [email protected]

  • Joan Helmrich

    • (703) 648-4622

    • [email protected]

    • Jennifer Runyon

      • (703) 648-4550

      • [email protected]

    • Dwight Hughes

      • (703) 648-5793

      • [email protected]


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