Peabody GNIS Service - Colorado

GNIS
19 Dec 2014 16:46:06

 

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GNIS database via USGS   |   Canadian Geographic Names database


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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). See the 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
3. County
The county in which the labeled feature occurs.
4. Coordinates
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."
5. Mapname
The name of the topographic map on which the labeled feature is found.

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