Can I add new entries to the Geographic Names Information System for manmade and administrative features, such as churches, cemeteries, schools, shopping centers, etc.?

Suggested corrections and additions to the Geographic Names Information System (GNIS) data are accepted from any source for review. Upon validation, they will be committed to the database.

For manmade and administrative features, submit the official name of the feature with its precise location in geographic coordinates (latitude/longitude), the state, and county to the GNIS Manager at BGNEXEC@usgs.gov. You must also include a bibliographic reference, which is a written source such as a map, pamphlet, other document, website, sign, etc. in which the name is published. 

GNIS maintains an active and extensive program to add features to 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-by-case basis.

Please note that different procedures are required to suggest a name for a feature that has no published name or to propose that an existing name be changed.

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Does the Geographic Names Information System Database contain entries for obsolete names and historical geographic features that no longer exist?

Yes, The Geographic Names Information System (GNIS) actively seeks names of features that no longer exist. The term "historical" as used in the GNIS specifically means that the feature no longer exists on the landscape. An abandoned ghost town, for example, still exists so it is not historical. Historical features have no reference to age, size,...

How can I propose a name change for a natural feature?

Proposals to change the name of a natural feature can be submitted to the U.S. Board on Geographic Names . There must, however, be a compelling reason to change it. The Board is responsible by law for standardizing geographic names throughout the Federal Government and discourages name changes unless necessary. Further, changing a name merely to...

I think I found an error in the Geographic Names Information System Database. How do I report it?

Please report possible errors to the Geographic Names Information System Manager at BGNEXEC@usgs.gov . The Names data experts will investigate and validate the data, enter appropriate corrections where needed, and advise you of the results. Learn more: U.S. Board on Geographic Names: Principles, Policies, and Procedures

How can I name an unnamed natural feature?

Proposals to name an unnamed natural feature can be submitted to the Board on Geographic Names (BGN). The BGN is responsible by law for standardizing geographic names throughout the Federal Government, and promulgates policies governing issues such as commemorative naming, derogatory names, and names in wilderness areas. Please note that no...

How can I acquire or download Geographic Names Information System (GNIS) data?

Download Geographic Names Information System (GNIS) data using the U.S. Board on Geographic Names website . Query the database for official geographic feature names, their location attributes, variant names, and other data. Display, print, and download up to 2,000 records from a query. GNIS data can also be downloaded via the National Map Viewer...

What is the Geographic Names Information System (GNIS)?

The Geographic Names Information System (GNIS) was developed by the U.S.Geological Survey (USGS) in cooperation with the U.S. Board on Geographic Names (BGN), which maintains cooperative working relationships with state names authorities to standardize geographic names. GNIS contains information about the official names for places, features, and...
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Participant in LCMAP workshop looks at computer screen
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LCMAP Workshop Computer

South Dakota State University Extension Office Senior Ag Research Technician Brad Richardson uses the LCMAP Timeseries Analysis and Plotting Tool (TAPTool) at the USGS Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS) Center in Sioux Falls, SD. 

Shaded relief and geographic names features from 2005 US Topo for Denali, Alaska
December 31, 2015

Shaded relief and geographic names features from 2005 US Topo for Dena

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