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Antarctic Names

User Notice – September 2, 2021

The GNIS Antarctica search application is currently offline. Users may access GNIS data by downloading the Antarctica text file that will be made available prior to shutdown. GNIS will be down for a period of time as we transition to our new forms. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause our users.

The GNIS application will be getting a much-needed update. Users will still be able to search and retrieve records and view the location on a map. Users will be able to select the best search type for their needs and download the results. The summary page for each record will include the location displayed on a map along with each point. Users will have the ability to select several options for map backgrounds to assist with location. We will provide a date for the implementation of the new GNIS as soon as we know it.

Downloadable Files:

The location of GNIS download files will be moved to ScienceBase and users can choose to download the text files we continue to create as well as a new geodatabase file that can be used with ArcMap. Until we move to ScienceBase, users will be able to download the text files from the BGN website.

The problem of geographic nomenclature in Antarctica differs from that of any land area of comparable size and is unique in the world. Antarctica has no indidgenous population so there is no history of cultural ties to geography. Human presence has a relatively short history and is often temporary. The continent has been visited and explored by the representatives of many nations, who, by their heroic efforts to broaden man's knowledge of this land of ice and snow, have fully demonstrated the international nature of the world of science. Most major features of Antarctica have been discovered and mapped but a vast number of secondary features continue to be only partially delineated and remain unnamed. There is no sovereign territory and instead the region is managed under an international agreement, the Antarctic Treaty. The Advisory Committee on Antarctic names (ACAN) follows the Antarctica policy which guides ACAN in recommending names to the BGN for formal recognition by the United States. 

To propose a name in Antarctica, please read the Antarctic Policy and submit information to