SEARCH FORMS FOR INDIVIDUAL STATES
District of Columbia |
New Hampshire |
New Jersey |
New Mexico |
New York |
North Carolina |
North Dakota |
Rhode Island |
South Carolina |
South Dakota |
West Virginia |
NOTICE and DISCLAIMER: GNIS data and images retrieved from this internet service are intended for educational and scholarly use only, and may not be used for any commercial purposes without prior written consent from the Yale Peabody Museum. Please contact the Peabody Museum if you have questions, particularly if you wish to publish using material obtained from this service.
Description of the GNIS Data
Available from this portion of the Peabody Museum web are 1,233,933 records
corresponding to the labeled features that can be found on the 1:24,000
scale topographic maps of the US Geological Survey.
A synopsis of the GNIS is as follows (excerpted from the USGS/GNIS FactSheet, June 1991):
"The Geographic Names Information System (GNIS) is a data
system developed by the U. S. Geological Survey (USGS) in
cooperation with the U. S. Board on Geographic Names.
The National Geographic Names Data Base is the largest of
the GNIS databases, containing records on almost two
million geographic feature names in the United States:
from populated places, schools, reservoirs, and parks, to
streams, valleys, springs, and ridges."
The Peabody version of the GNIS is an
extract of the information present in the full GNIS database as
distributed by the USGS (our extract represents "core data" that we
have found most useful when trying to resolve USA locality issues with
museum specimens, especially historical material).
USGS GNIS website for the currently updated version.
The records retrieved from the Peabody GNIS database service are all "one-liners" of
information, containing the following fields: feature name, feature type, county, coordinates, mapname.
1. Feature Name
This is the name of the labeled feature on the topographic maps.
The Names are capitalized. An asterisk (*) can be used as a
wildcard, but only in conjunction with a specific feature type.
2. Feature Type
The feature types represent a classification scheme for sorting labeled features
into groups. Note that "ppl" is the feature type for populated places
i.e., towns and cities. The feature types available include:
airport arch area arroyo bar basin bay beach bench bend bridge
building canal cape cemetery channel church cliff crater
crossing dam falls flat forest gap geyser glacier gut harbor
hospital island isthmus lake lava levee locale mine oilfield
other park pillar plain ppl range rapids reserve reservoir
ridge school sea slope spring stream summit swamp tower trail
tunnel valley well woods
The county in which the labeled feature occurs.
The latitude and longitude for the labeled feature, in the format dddmmssy, where d is degrees, m is minutes, s is seconds, and y is compass direction.
The coordinate data are from the LATLONG field in the GNIS
database. The USGS/GNIS Data Users Guide (1987, page 7) offers the
following notes about this field which may be of interest:
"The first coordinate in this element is termed the primary
coordinate. In the case of areal features, [the coordinates]
represent the approximate center of the feature, while the
primary coordinates of linear features represent the mouth. The
mouth is where the feature joins another feature, ends in a delta
or is an alluvial fan, or no longer has a discernible channel or
trough-like character... The guideline for digitizing areal
features requires that the primary coordinates be taken in the
center, but the location of the center of a large city is
sometimes somewhat subjective. Additional guidelines for use in
determining the placement of the primary geographic corrdinates
of large populated places include the location of the city hall
or town hall, main post office, main library, central business
district, or main intersection."
The name of the topographic map on which the labeled feature is found.