Log In

USGS Geographic Names Information System (GNIS)

GNISThis dataset contains the locations for Los Angeles County as noted by the US Board of Geographic Names.  It is called the Geographic Names Information System (GNIS), and is the official dataset of all locations and names as recognized by the federal government.

These are points that are shown on USGS Topographic Quad Sheets and many other locations.  Many of these locations have been loaded into the County’s Points of Interest dataset.

Full details are found at the geonames website (http://geonames.usgs.gov)

Download the data

You can download the raw file here: USGS_GNIS_20150811 (Zipped shapefile) – August 11, 2015 update.

RElated metadata can be found here: http://geonames.usgs.gov/domestic/metadata.htm

What is GNIS?

The Geographic Names Information System (GNIS) is the Federal standard for geographic nomenclature. The U.S. Geological Survey developed the GNIS for the U.S. Board on Geographic Names, a Federal inter-agency body chartered by public law to maintain uniform feature name usage throughout the Government and to promulgate standard names to the public. The GNIS is the official repository of domestic geographic names data; the official vehicle for geographic names use by all departments of the Federal Government; and the source for applying geographic names to Federal electronic and printed products of all types. See <http://geonames.usgs.gov> for additional information.

The U.S. Board on Geographic Names is a Federal body created in 1890 and established in its present form by Public Law in 1947 to maintain uniform geographic name usage throughout the Federal Government. The Board comprises representatives of Federal agencies concerned with geographic information, population, ecology, and management of public lands. Sharing its responsibilities with the Secretary of the Interior, the Board promulgates official geographic feature names with locative attributes as well as principles, policies, and procedures governing the use of domestic names, foreign names, Antarctic names, and undersea feature names.

The original program of names standardization addressed the complex issues of domestic geographic feature names during the surge of exploration, mining, and settlement of western territories after the American Civil War. Inconsistencies and contradictions among many names, spellings, and applications became a serious problem to surveyors, map makers, and scientists who required uniform, non-conflicting geographic nomenclature. President Benjamin Harrison signed an Executive Order establishing the Board and giving it authority to resolve unsettled geographic names questions. Decisions of the Board were accepted as binding by all departments and agencies of the Federal Government.

Continue reading by going to the official website

 

Using GIS Data on this site

GIS Data downloaded from this site generally requires GIS software to view. Click here for a list of GIS Data Viewers

GIS data available on this website is provided AS IS - please read the GIS Data Portal Terms of Use

Data Field Descriptions

File Format for States, Territories, and Associated Areas of the United States

Name Type Length/ Decimals Description
Feature ID Number 10 Permanent, unique feature record identifier and official feature name as defined in INCITS 446-2008, Identifying Attributes for Named Physical and Cultural Geographic Features (Except Roads and Highways) of the United States, Its Territories, Outlying Areas, and Freely Associated Areas, and the Waters of the Same to the Limit of the Twelve-Mile Statutory Zone.
Feature Name Character 120
Feature Class Character 50 Definitions
State Alpha Character 2 The unique two letter alphabetic code and the unique two number code for a US State as specified in INCITS 38:200x, (Formerly FIPS 5-2) Codes for the Identification of the States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the Insular Areas of the United States.

Some feature records in State files will display State Alpha and Number Codes for a State other than that requested. This is not an error. It indicates that the primary coordinates for the feature reside in another State, but that the feature crosses into and is included in the specified State. This also means that the feature record is included in both State files.

State Numeric Character 2
County Name Character 100 The name and unique three number code for a county or county equivalent as specified in INCITS 31:200x, (Formerly FIPS 6-4) Codes for the Identification of Counties and Equivalent Entities of the United States, its Possessions, and Insular Areas
County Numeric Character 3
Primary Latitude DMS Character 7 The official feature location as defined in INCITS 446-2008, Identifying Attributes for Named Physical and Cultural Geographic Features (Except Roads and Highways) of the United States, Its Territories, Outlying Areas, and Freely Associated Areas, and the Waters of the Same to the Limit of the Twelve-Mile Statutory Zone.

NAD 83
DMS-degrees/minutes/seconds
DEC-decimal degrees.

Note: Records showing "Unknown" and zeros for the latitude and longitude DMS and decimal fields, respectively, indicate that the coordinates of the feature are unknown. They are recorded in the database as zeros to satisfy the format requirements of a numerical data type. They are not errors and do not reference the actual geographic coordinates at 0 latitude, 0 longitude.

Primary Longitude DMS Character 8
Primary Latitude DEC Number 11/7
Primary Longitude DEC Number 12/7
Source Latitude DMS Character 7 Source coordinates of linear feature only (Class = Stream, Valley, Arroyo), NAD 83
DMS-degrees/minutes/seconds
DEC-decimal degrees.

Note: Records showing "Unknown" and zeros for the latitude and longitude DMS and decimal fields, respectively, indicate that the coordinates of the feature are unknown. They are recorded in the database as zeros to satisfy the format requirements of a numerical data type. They are not errors and do not reference the actual geographic coordinates at 0 latitude, 0 longitude.

Source Longitude DMS Character 8
Source Latitude DEC Number 11/7
Source Longitude DEC Number 12/7
Elevation (meters) Number 5 Elevation in meters above (-below) sea level of the surface at the primary coordinates from National Elevation Dataset
Elevation (feet) Number 6 Elevation in feet above (-below) sea level of the surface at the primary coordinates from National Elevation Dataset
Map Name Character 100 Name of USGS base series topographic map containing the primary coordinates.
Date Created Date The date the feature was initially committed to the database.
Date Edited Date The date any attribute of an existing feature was last edited.

Download Files | Domestic Names | Home

 


GIS Source Information
Database Name: eGIS_Infrastructure
Feature Class Name: USGS_GNIS
Feature Dataset Name (if applicable):
Reference Date:
Accuracy: Parcel
Update Frequency: As Needed
Access Constraints:None

Contact Information
Louis A. Yost
Chief, Geographic Names Project
United States
US Geological Survey
523 National Center

Reston, Virginia 20192
gnis_manager@usgs.gov
(703) 648-4552

Leave a Reply