Geographic Names Information System - 19 of 25

Geographic Names Information System FAQs - 25 Found

Why are some manmade and administrative features not listed in the Geographic Names Information System?

The USGS Geographic Names Project maintains an active and extensive program to add features not in the database, primarily through partnerships with Federal, State, and local agencies, and with other organizations having relevant data.

The GNIS Web-based data maintenance application allows authorized users to enter and edit feature data directly. Batch files of data also are accepted in most standard formats. Government agencies at all levels are encouraged to join the program. Other organizations and individuals will be considered on a case basis. Suggested corrections and additions to the data are accepted from any source for review, and upon validation, will be committed to the database.

The 30-year GNIS data compilation program began in 1976 and is continuing. The first phase (1976-1982) collected names (except roads and highways) from the USGS topographic maps, but many manmade and administrative features either are not shown or not named on these maps. Between 1982 and 1984, names from other Federal sources were collected, but only about 30 percent of the known names appeared on Federal sources (for manmade features it was a far smaller percentage).

A second extensive compilation phase was begun in 1982 and continues to collect, State by State, data from official State and local sources as well as from other pertinent current and historical materials. This process is about 90 percent complete (See GNIS status map). However, even for completed States and counties, the volume and quality of data varies.

While we anticipate discovering most additional entries (even historical locations) through the partnership program, there will always be those that escape detection. 

See the Data.Gov, Geographic Names Community for additional information concerning GNIS Web services and the data maintenance program or contact GNIS Manager.

Tags: Datasets, Maps, Coordinates, Metadata, Features, Geographic Names Information System (GNIS)