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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 areas in the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the territories and outlying areas of the United States, including Antarctica. GNIS is the geographic names component of The National Map

GNIS contains records on more than 2 million geographic names in the United States, including populated places, schools, lakes, streams, valleys, and ridges. It includes all feature types except for road and highway names.

Search the GNIS using its Query Form for the United States and Its Territories. A feature search on GNIS yields the longitude and latitude of the feature, the name of the topographic map on which the feature can be found, and feature information. There are also links to topographic maps as well as aerial photography via the National Map and other sources.

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