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Maps, Aerial Photographs, and GIS (MAGIS): Placenames

Information about the physical and digital collections in Maps, Aerial Photos, and Geographic Information Systems. Also the GIS Lab and GIS data and imagery sources.


Catalog of Hawai‛i Place Names
Content courtesy of Lloyd J. Soehren. Maintained by University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa Library.

Hawaiian Place Names (Ulukau: the Hawaiian Electronic Library)

Hawai‛i Board on Geographic Names
Includes name corrections for 7.5' quads by island. This is to add the  ‛okina and kahakō, or diacritical marks that were left off of earlier versions.

Place Names in Hawaii Research Guide
An extensive list of resources compiled by Hawaiian Collection librarian Dore Minatodani.

Selected Countries & Regions

Japan Placename Database
(Harvard U.)

China Historical GIS Gazetteer (Harvard U.)
A database of populated places and historical administrative units for the period of Chinese history between 221 BCE and 1911 CE.

New Zealand
Search Gazetteer of Official Geographic Names. Also official and unofficial Māori names.


United States

Geographic Names Information System (GNIS)
Search for features in the United States and its territories. The GNIS contains information about physical and cultural geographic features of all types in the United States, associated areas, and Antarctica, current and historical, but not including roads and highways.

U.S. Gazetteer, U.S. Census Bureau: 2010, 2000, and 1990
Limited to places, counties, county subdivisions, census tracts, American Indian Areas, school districts, state legislative districts and ZIP Code Tabulation Areas (ZCTAs).


GEOnet Names Server (GNS)
The official repository of standard spellings of all foreign geographic names, sanctioned by the United States Board on Geographic Names (US BGN). The database also contains variant spellings, which are useful for finding purposes, as well as non-Roman script spellings of many of these names.

Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names® Online
Developed to support cataloging and retrieval of objects pertaining to art, architecture, and material culture. Hierarchical arrangement provides geographical context for places. Includes geographic coordinates.

This open source gazetteer of more than 8 million placenames includes data from GNIS, Geonames, and national governments, as well as several commercial web sites. Results include geographic coordinates; display on map feature may be problematic. Response time is good.

International Place name resources
Links to country geographic name institutions and organizations.

JewishGen Communities Database and Gazetteer
Contains information on over 6,000 Jewish communities in Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East, together with Jewish population figures, historical town names and jurisdictions, and inset maps.

UN/EU Common Gazetteer Search
A service of the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission and the Cartographic Section of the United Nations.


Searchable geographic names databases
Links to country-level databases compiled by the United Nations Group of Experts on Geographical Names.