National Geospatial Program

Geographic Names

Example geographic names data

Example geographic names data. (Public domain.)

In support of the United States Board on Geographic Names, the USGS maintains the Federal authoritative source of official geographic feature names, known as the Geographic Names Information System (GNIS). USGS topographic maps and The National Map Viewer display selected feature names, including physical and cultural features such as mountains, valleys, bays, populated places, hospitals, schools, churches, and cemeteries. The GNIS does not contain the names of streets or roads, and currently does not define the extent of features; however, it does contain attributes to help determine their relative extent. Further information and data download are available at:

The GNIS Feature ID, Official Feature Name, and Official Feature Location are American National Standards Institute standards as specified in ANSI INCITS 446-2008 (Identifying Attributes for Named Physical and Cultural Geographic Features (Except Roads and Highways) of the United States, Its Territories, Outlying Areas, and Freely Associated Areas, and the Waters of the Same to the Limit of the Twelve-Mile Statutory Zone.)

The National Map Gazetteer is the geographic dictionary of domestic feature names allowing users to conduct multi-attribute searches for geographic features based on the current official name, alternate or historical names, feature classifications, states, counties, USGS topographic maps, and other attributes. It also provides access to key Federal feature identification and classification codes and Antarctica feature names. The National Map Gazetteer draws from the Geographic Names Information System (GNIS). It displays query results in tabular, downloadable, printable, and graphic forms: