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Maps and Mapping

The USGS provides the mapping and digital geospatial foundation for the Nation.

Filter Total Items: 145

What is radiometric resolution?

Radiometric resolution relates to how much information is perceived by a satellite’s sensor. While the human eye detects color, Landsat sensors measure energy reflecting or emitted from the earth and relay that information as an image to users in varying degrees of greyscale. The higher the radiometric resolution, the more shades of grey the user sees. Landsat data are characterized by digital...

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What is radiometric resolution?

Radiometric resolution relates to how much information is perceived by a satellite’s sensor. While the human eye detects color, Landsat sensors measure energy reflecting or emitted from the earth and relay that information as an image to users in varying degrees of greyscale. The higher the radiometric resolution, the more shades of grey the user sees. Landsat data are characterized by digital...

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Are the decisions of the Board on Geographic Names (BGN) on the replacement names final? How can a Tribe participate in the renaming process if they were not able to take part in the Consultations or comment period?

The Task Force concluded its duties and responsibilities by recommending replacement names to the BGN, upon which the BGN rendered a decision. The decisions of the BGN are immediately official for federal use. However, if a Tribe, a member of the public, or another interested party believes the replacement name is not the most appropriate choice, they are welcome to propose that it be changed to a...

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Are the decisions of the Board on Geographic Names (BGN) on the replacement names final? How can a Tribe participate in the renaming process if they were not able to take part in the Consultations or comment period?

The Task Force concluded its duties and responsibilities by recommending replacement names to the BGN, upon which the BGN rendered a decision. The decisions of the BGN are immediately official for federal use. However, if a Tribe, a member of the public, or another interested party believes the replacement name is not the most appropriate choice, they are welcome to propose that it be changed to a...

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Does the Board on Geographic Names decide what is derogatory or offensive?

The Board on Geographic Names (BGN) does not declare a word derogatory or offensive, with the one exception being the 1974 case when the pejorative word for Japanese was declared derogatory and mandated to be changed to “Japanese” in all occurrences. The BGN does, however, consider renaming any feature with a name considered derogatory or offensive on a case-by-case basis when a proposal is...

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Does the Board on Geographic Names decide what is derogatory or offensive?

The Board on Geographic Names (BGN) does not declare a word derogatory or offensive, with the one exception being the 1974 case when the pejorative word for Japanese was declared derogatory and mandated to be changed to “Japanese” in all occurrences. The BGN does, however, consider renaming any feature with a name considered derogatory or offensive on a case-by-case basis when a proposal is...

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How did the Derogatory Geographic Names Task Force reach a final decision on replacement names?

Secretary's Order 3404 outlines the process. The Derogatory Geographic Names Task Force reviewed all candidate names, including those generated by the U.S. Geological Survey, received by the Board on Geographic Names as part of a formal proposal prior to 1/24/22, or contributed through the public comment period or Tribal Consultations. As outlined in Secretary's Order 3404, "The task force will...

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How did the Derogatory Geographic Names Task Force reach a final decision on replacement names?

Secretary's Order 3404 outlines the process. The Derogatory Geographic Names Task Force reviewed all candidate names, including those generated by the U.S. Geological Survey, received by the Board on Geographic Names as part of a formal proposal prior to 1/24/22, or contributed through the public comment period or Tribal Consultations. As outlined in Secretary's Order 3404, "The task force will...

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How do citizens make public comment on Secretary’s Order 3404 and the DOI Derogatory Geographic Names Task Force, including suggested replacement names?

The Derogatory Geographic Names Task Force opened a written public comment period and DOI offered Tribal Consultation to all federally recognized tribes. Both of these opportunities were announced in the Federal Register on Feb. 23, 2022 [link to Federal Register Notice for Consultation, link to Federal Register Notice for public comment]. In addition, the Task Force issued a letter through the...

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How do citizens make public comment on Secretary’s Order 3404 and the DOI Derogatory Geographic Names Task Force, including suggested replacement names?

The Derogatory Geographic Names Task Force opened a written public comment period and DOI offered Tribal Consultation to all federally recognized tribes. Both of these opportunities were announced in the Federal Register on Feb. 23, 2022 [link to Federal Register Notice for Consultation, link to Federal Register Notice for public comment]. In addition, the Task Force issued a letter through the...

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How were states involved in the process?

Each state has a state naming authority responsible for management of geographic names within its boundaries. Several of these naming authorities communicated throughout their states to generate input to the process, or directly submitted recommendations to the Task Force through the public comment period.

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How were states involved in the process?

Each state has a state naming authority responsible for management of geographic names within its boundaries. Several of these naming authorities communicated throughout their states to generate input to the process, or directly submitted recommendations to the Task Force through the public comment period.

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How will these name changes be used by private mapping companies?

All name changes will be reflected in the Domestic Names Geographic Names Information System (GNIS), the authoritative federal database. Federal agencies rely on the GNIS for the publication of map products or other services. Often, private mapping companies (e.g., Google Maps, Apple Maps, Esri) use GNIS but they are not required to do so.

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How will these name changes be used by private mapping companies?

All name changes will be reflected in the Domestic Names Geographic Names Information System (GNIS), the authoritative federal database. Federal agencies rely on the GNIS for the publication of map products or other services. Often, private mapping companies (e.g., Google Maps, Apple Maps, Esri) use GNIS but they are not required to do so.

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How will these name changes be used by states?

All name changes will be reflected in the Domestic Names Geographic Names Information System (GNIS), the authoritative federal database. Federal agencies rely on the GNIS for the publication of map products or other services. A state may maintain its own names database or have other policies that govern state map production, but typically, they use the names from GNIS for consistency.

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How will these name changes be used by states?

All name changes will be reflected in the Domestic Names Geographic Names Information System (GNIS), the authoritative federal database. Federal agencies rely on the GNIS for the publication of map products or other services. A state may maintain its own names database or have other policies that govern state map production, but typically, they use the names from GNIS for consistency.

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Is Secretary’s Order 3404 and the DOI Derogatory Geographic Names Task Force limited to only those features and geographic names that are on federal lands?

Secretary's Order 3404 and the Derogatory Geographic Names Task Force have purview over names of approximately 650 geographic features with the term sq___ located on federal, state, Tribal, county, local or private land. These are primarily natural features (i.e., lakes, mountains, etc.), as well as canals, channels, and reservoirs in the United States and its territories and outlying areas. While...

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Is Secretary’s Order 3404 and the DOI Derogatory Geographic Names Task Force limited to only those features and geographic names that are on federal lands?

Secretary's Order 3404 and the Derogatory Geographic Names Task Force have purview over names of approximately 650 geographic features with the term sq___ located on federal, state, Tribal, county, local or private land. These are primarily natural features (i.e., lakes, mountains, etc.), as well as canals, channels, and reservoirs in the United States and its territories and outlying areas. While...

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What other derogatory names or words are being reviewed under Secretary’s Order 3404 and the DOI Derogatory Geographic Names Task Force?

Secretary's Order 3404 and the Derogatory Geographic Names Task Force considered only the sq___ derogatory word in its scope. Secretary’s Order 3405 creates a Federal Advisory Committee for DOI to formally receive input from interested parties regarding additional derogatory terms, derogatory terms applied to federal land units, and the process for derogatory name reconciliation.

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What other derogatory names or words are being reviewed under Secretary’s Order 3404 and the DOI Derogatory Geographic Names Task Force?

Secretary's Order 3404 and the Derogatory Geographic Names Task Force considered only the sq___ derogatory word in its scope. Secretary’s Order 3405 creates a Federal Advisory Committee for DOI to formally receive input from interested parties regarding additional derogatory terms, derogatory terms applied to federal land units, and the process for derogatory name reconciliation.

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What other words are considered “Derogatory” under Secretary’s Order 3404 and the DOI Derogatory Geographic Names Task Force?

The Board on Geographic Names’ (BGN) Principles, Policies, and Procedures document contains the current Derogatory and Offensive Names Policy. Prior to Secretary's Order 3404, only two other words had been declared derogatory by the BGN in all occurrences: In 1963, the BGN, at the request of the Secretary of the Interior, mandated that the pejorative form of the word “Negro” be eliminated from all...

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What other words are considered “Derogatory” under Secretary’s Order 3404 and the DOI Derogatory Geographic Names Task Force?

The Board on Geographic Names’ (BGN) Principles, Policies, and Procedures document contains the current Derogatory and Offensive Names Policy. Prior to Secretary's Order 3404, only two other words had been declared derogatory by the BGN in all occurrences: In 1963, the BGN, at the request of the Secretary of the Interior, mandated that the pejorative form of the word “Negro” be eliminated from all...

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Will Secretary’s Order 3404 and the DOI Derogatory Geographic Names Task Force affect street names or street signs

Any renaming activity pursuant to Secretary's Order 3404 only applies to federal use. The names of cultural or man-made features such as roads, streets, shopping centers, churches, schools, hospitals and airports are not under the Board on Geographic Names’ purview, with very limited exceptions.

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Will Secretary’s Order 3404 and the DOI Derogatory Geographic Names Task Force affect street names or street signs

Any renaming activity pursuant to Secretary's Order 3404 only applies to federal use. The names of cultural or man-made features such as roads, streets, shopping centers, churches, schools, hospitals and airports are not under the Board on Geographic Names’ purview, with very limited exceptions.

Learn More