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Place 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)
    Limited to places, counties, county subdivisions, census tracts, American Indian Areas, school districts, state legislative districts and ZIP Code Tabulation Areas (ZCTAs).
  • Geologic Names Lexicon (GEOLEX)
    A National compilation of names and descriptions of geologic units. 


  • 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.
  • GeoNames
    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.
  • Maplandia
    Searchable world gazetteer based on Google Maps. More than 2,000,000 places all over the world are divided into many geographical categories according to continents, countries and administrative regions.
  • 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.
  • World Historical Gazetteer (WHG)
    WHG indexes place data drawn from historical sources, projects, and disciplines.

Selected Countries and Regions

  • China Historical GIS Gazetteer (Harvard University and Fudan University)
    A database of populated places and historical administrative units for the period of Chinese history between 221 BCE and 1911 CE.
  • Japan Placename Database (Harvard University)
  • New Zealand Gazetteer (Land Information New Zealand)
    Search the Gazetteer for official geographic names. Also official and unofficial Māori names.