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Why does the Geographic Names Information System entry say the feature is "in" a community, when I know it is not?

Often, users of the data can misinterpret the content of certain fields. The field entitled "USGS 7.5' map" may be one of these fields. Upon examination, please note that the entry indicates that the "community" name associated with the named feature is actually the name of the USGS topographic map on which the feature is located. This in no way implies that the feature is in this community (although it could be), but that it is simply wholly or partially on the map named for this community. In fact, the feature in question may be on a map named for one community yet is "within" another community that happens to be on that map. A USGS map is usually named for the most prominent feature within the bounds of the map. These standard topographic maps cover approximately 60 square miles. We must locate each feature to the standard base map on which it is located. There is no attempt to associate the feature to the community, populated place, or minor civil division (township or town) in which it is located. In fact, since only about 20 percent of the communities nationwide are incorporated or have legal boundaries, in most cases it is not really possible to determine if a feature is or is not "in" a community.
 

 

 

Tags: Maps, Geospatial, Data, Metadata, Features, Geographic Names Information System (GNIS)