How accurate is the elevation data in the Geographic Names Information System Database? How was it measured?

The elevation figures in the Geographic Names Information System (GNIS) are not official and do not represent precisely measured or surveyed values. Only the geographic name and locative attributes are official.

Elevations are derived from data in The National Map. The data are interpolated from seamless raster elevation models for the given coordinates and might differ from elevations cited in other sources, including those published on USGS topographic maps. Published map data represent precisely surveyed points that often are marked by a benchmark or triangle on the map and a benchmark seal physically anchored into the ground at the site.

Learn more: 

Related Content

Filter Total Items: 6

How accurate are elevations generated by the Elevation Point Query Service in The National Map?

The Elevation Point Query Service in The National Map returns elevations that are interpolated from the 1/3 arc-second 3D Elevation Program (3DEP) DEM dataset. Spot elevations are not official and do not represent precisely measured ground surveyed values. Spot elevations derived for a specific location using the Elevation Point Query Service...

How accurate are US Topo maps, and why don't they have an accuracy statement?

US Topo maps are as accurate as the data sources used to make them, but because these sources are many and varied, it is not possible to make a single simple statement that the map as a whole meets a particular level of accuracy. US Topo maps, therefore, do not have a traditional accuracy statement in the map collar. Accuracy information for...

Why do all of the coordinates (latitude and longitude) in the Geographic Names Information System seem incorrect?

Coordinates that seem to be incorrect in the Geographic Names Information System might just be projected on a different datum from the datum used on your map or your positioning system (GPS). Most USGS maps published approximately 1940-1995 are projected on the North American Datum of 1927 (NAD27) . Later maps are projected on the North American...

How do I report an error in the Geographic Names Information System Database?

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 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...

How often is the Geographic Names Information System database updated?

Federal, state, local, and non-governmental data partners continuously submit new features and edit existing features in the Geographic Names Information System (GNIS) database . Changes--potentially consisting of hundreds to thousands of records per month--are validated by the staff and made available on the GNIS website and in the Web services...
Filter Total Items: 3
Date published: August 27, 2019

New names at Newberry drawn from CalVO geologist's mapping

In June 2019, the U.S. Board on Geographic Names approved twenty-five new formal geographic names at Newberry Volcano in central Oregon. The names were proposed by Julie Donnelly-Nolan, a Research Geologist with the Volcano Science Center of the USGS in Menlo Park, CA.

Date published: August 12, 2016

Highest Point East of Rockies Gets New Name

Black Elk Peak replaces Harney Peak in federal records

Date published: September 1, 2015

Old Name Officially Returns to Nation's Highest Peak

The story of America is told by the names on the land. When you hear names like Kentucky and Kennesaw, Klamath and Kodiak, your mind immediately starts to turn over all manner of associated thoughts of what you may have experienced or learned or even what you may imagine about that place.

Filter Total Items: 1
National Elevation Dataset

National Elevation Dataset

National Elevation Dataset