The Quest for a National Gazetteer

in From Squaw Tit to Whorehouse Meadow

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print May 2006 | ISBN: 9780226534657
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226534640 | DOI:
The Quest for a National Gazetteer

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In the United States, new or replacement names for physical features cannot get into the system without approval by the U.S. Board on Geographic Names. Because toponyms are potentially controversial, the board's Domestic Names Committee has a unique role in the politically wary federal mapping community. If every name requires board consideration and approval, compilation might take a millennium. The United States has not produced a comprehensive gazetteer since 1884 and seems to ignore a 1967 recommendation by the United Nations Committee on Names Standardization that every country publish its standardized names in a national gazetteer. A key obstacle to a comprehensive national gazetteer is the sheer volume of information involved. Other obstacles are the slow pace of systematic large-scale mapping and the time and cost involved in not only compiling the initial listing but also keeping it up-to-date.

Keywords: U.S. Board on Geographic Names; Domestic Names Committee; toponyms; national gazetteer; large-scale mapping

Chapter.  5612 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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