Maps, Geography, Cartography, Glossaries, and Gazetteers
- Using Maps For Teaching and Research . From a presentation on using maps and geographical data for teaching and research. A variety of concepts are covered here. This is a good place to start for many map needs.
- Maps & Cartography Resources. (University Libraries, University at Buffalo).
- Maps of Europe from 1500+. Short list of maps; mostly historical periods.
- United Nations Cartographic Section. Maps of countries, regions, etc. (in PDF format).
- Latitude. Rice University site offers the basic history of the development of latitude.
- David's Map Links. Maps, geographic resources, other. An unsorted bookmark list.
Gazetteers and Geographical Name Authorities List *
Gazetteers are dictionaries or databases of place names, features, and locations. Some gazetteers include data on: demography; physical geography; political boundaries; industry, trade, and service activities; agriculture; cultural, historical, and archeological points of interest; transportation lines; longitude, latitude, and elevations; distance to relevant places; pronunciations; official local government place-names and changed or variant names and spellings.
These tools are useful to research in any field, as knowledge of names, name history, and variant names for places is essential to identifying and understanding a name. The primary sources below are governmental or other authoritative collections of place names as agreed upon by international standards. The secondary sources may also be official government sources, however these should be used if the primary sources fail to locate a name or name variant. There are also other authoritative sources for many countries. Another use of the secondary sources is to go to more focused dictionaries (e.g., for a specific country), as this sometimes provides more data on the name.
- NGA GEOnet Names Server (GNS) (NGA formerly NIMA) [Excluding U.S. and Antarctica] Over 9,316,122 feature names, plus access to more than 4,800 undersea features. From the U.S. Board on Geographic Names (US BGN). NGA also has additional data and links that are useful for cataloging, as well as for geographers trying to keep up with the changing political world. To use, click on GNS Search - Text Based Page link.
- Antarctica Geographic Names Information System for this continent (home page).
- Canadian Geographical Names (Geographical Names Board of Canada (GNBC). Name search site.
- Canadian Geospatial Data Infrastructure (CGDI). Search using "Find place by name." Also part of CGDI is the GeoConnections Discovery Portal. Search names, data, and find additional geo links for Canada.
- Columbia Gazetteer of the World Online (UB subscription only). Electronic database of place names, features, and variant names. Includes data on each name; also has names of mythical places.
- U.S. Names: United States Gazetteer (U.S. Census Bureau). U.S. names, but based on Census descriptions.
- National Park Service. Names of parks, historic sites, etc. (or click on Find a Park).
- Washington Place Names Database.Washington State.
New York State
NYS Gazetteer and GeoData Collection. Searchable database of places, providing names, feature types, grid coordinates and other geographic information. There are over 38,000 NYS geographic features available, all searchable by name, county, or USGS map quadrangle. Data from USGS 7.5 Minute Series Topographic Maps for New York State. Data from the GNIS, but for New York State only (plus links to Digital Raster Graphics (DRG's).
Canadian Provinces and Territories
- BC Geographical Names Search. Similar system for British Columbia.
- NWT Geographic Names. Name search for the Northwest Territories (excludes Nunavut).
- GeoNative - Inuit - Kalaallit Nunaat - Nunavut. Includes Greenland (Kalaallit Nunaat). Place names and English versions. (Alert: this page is only available now as an archive website).
- Nunavut Page. Official government page. Maps and place names. In English and Inuktitut.
- Place Names in Nunavut.
- Ontario Locator. Find place, town, or map names in Ontario.
- Ontario Provincial Parks. Alphabetical listing, with addresses.
- Noms et lieux du Québec. Place name search system for Québec; In French only.
- Québec Parks, Tourist Parks, and Wildlife Reserves. Sepaq Official site.
- Canadian Islands. Incomplete list of islands in Canada, by province.
Other Countries and Places
- Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names. Similar to GNIS and GEOnet; has hierarchical system.Can search the entire world. Has 900,000 names, including historical and vernacular forms of names. Provides notes and references, and provides feature type description.
- Maplandia. World gazetteer based on Google Maps; includes more than two-million place names.
- United Nations Cartographic Section. Besides current maps of various world nations, there is a list of official names of member nations, capitals (with alternate forms), and other geographic names.
- Searchable Geographical Names Databases (United Nations Group of Experts on Geographical Names (UNGEGN)). Many countries; official databases.
- Antarctica Geographic Names Information System for this continent (home page).
- Composite Gazetteer of Antarctica. Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR). This is a download file.
- Australian Geographic Place Names. Search names in the land down under. Can generate maps based on search results.
- Gazetteers of Australia (Nat'l. Library of Australia). Place names with feature identification and geographic and/or grid coordinates.
- Australian Capital Territory Land Information Centre (Canberra). Place Names database.
- Place Names in the Northern Territory
- Nomenclature Board of Tasmania
- Vicnames - Geographic Place Name Authentication (Victoria)
- Land Search W.A. (Western Australia)
- Kartenmeister. Search for villages and towns in Germany; emphasis on pre-1900 (Empire) names. Also has good digitized maps from Empire.
- Directory of Cities, Towns, and Regions in Germany. Lists towns (by region or full list). Each entry gives coordinates, basic statistics, weather, and other data.
IrelandIreland Placenames Database.
United Kingdom (England, Scotland, Wales )
- Dictionary of British Place-Names (Oxford University). Online edition of the reference book of the same name (0198527586) with over 14,400 entries. (subscription only).
- Gazetteer of British Place Names.
- Historical Gazetteer of England's Place-Names.
- Ordnance Survey - Names and Gazetteer Products. Provides data on United Kingdom (England, Scotland, Wales only). A placename search returns: name, county, OS grid no., Landranger [map series] sheet no. (Ordnance Survey home page).
- Gazetteer for Scotland.
- National Gazetteer of Wales.
- Gazetteer of Planetary Nomenclature. (USGS). International Astronomical Union names for planetary objects (including places on those objects). This is also a great place to locate more obscure Earth names. Included are coordinates and location of each feature, PLUS it gives the origin of the name.
Additional Name and Heading Lists
- Appendix G: Cross-Reference List of Geographic Names (CIA Factbook). Name suggestions, with cross-references.
- Cross Reference List. Created to keep track of names and their main references as used for map cataloging. Data is based on the official BGN database and the LC authority list.
- has a current list along with other geographical information on countries.
- Rivers in China, India, Pakistan, and Southeast Asia. Partial listing of major rivers and waterways in China and India, and includes other Asian countries when the same rivers flow through those countries as well.
- If you get stuck and want to try another link, go to the Gazetteers and Place Name Guides site. It repeats some of the above, but they may have additional places to search.
- Global Gazetteer Version 2.3. Lists towns (by country, region, and full lists). Each entry gives coordinates, basic statistics, weather, and other data.
- GeoNames. The GeoNames geographical database covers all countries and contains over eight million placenames (same data as GeoNet name server).
- Map Cataloger's Tool Box (David Bertuca, University at Buffalo).Starting place for map catalogers. All sorts of great stuff.
- Map Librarian's Toolbox (Western Association of Map Libraries). Great site.
- Map Cataloging. (Terry Reese, librarian, Oregon State University). Many nice features and accessories for map catalogers, as well as links to more tool sites.
- Map Cataloging Links. (Sharon Saunders, Bates Univ. Lib.) Good sources. She also lists many good cataloging and format specific cataloging links.
- Map Cataloging Manual (Library of Congress). Not the complete work but it will help with many rule interpretations.
- List of LC subdivisions for maps. When formulating LCSH for maps, these are the most common subdivisions that are used.
- MAGERT Electronic Publications (Map and Geography Roundtable of the American Library Association) electronic publications for map catalogers.
- Cataloging Resources. All sorts of links for cataloging any format (my quick ref sheet, but take a look).
- MapWorks Map Toolbox. (MathWorks). This section of their website features map basics (i.e., What is a Map?). The site is mainly for their mapping software, but there is some helpful data here on general map concepts.
- Outline Maps. Do you need a map to build a call number index? Or maybe a map you can use to chart the items you have collected? Try these sites.
- RDA (Resource Description and Access). Starter page to resources and articles.
- USGS Glossary. Geological and geographical terms.
- Dictionary Of Abbreviations And Acronyms In Geographic Information Systems, Cartography, And Remote Sensing. By Philip Hoehn (David Rumsey Collection) and Mary Lynette Larsgaard (Map & Imagery Laboratory, University of California, Santa Barbara Library). Designed by John Creaser (Earth Sciences & Map Library, University of California, Berkeley). Comprehensive list of acronyms. Good for identifying map data.
- EEA multilingual environmental glossary (European Environment Agency). Many geographical terms.
- Glossary of Cartographic Terms (Perry-Castañeda Library Map Collection).
- Glossary of Cartographic Terms (Natural Resources Canada). Glossary of over 380 terms related to the field of cartography.
- Glossary of Geography (Geographic.org). List of selected terms. Also links to many other great resources on maps.
- Topographic Map Symbols and Nautical Chart Symbols, Abbreviations and Terms (MapTech). Shows examples with definitions.
- Map and Geography Terms. A visual glossary (basic) but helpful in visualizing a term's meaning. There are also links to geography info, outline maps, and more.
- Glossary of Spanish Geographic Terms. Helpful in trying to determine feature types on Spanish maps and atlases. Also has a list of Spanish place names.
- GIS Glossary (ESRI).
- GIS Glossaries (GIS Development). A variety of glossaries.
- GIS Dictionary (Association for Geographic Information and University Of Edinburgh Department of Geography). Database of terms, acronyms, and other GIS/cartographic words. (Association for Geographic Information and the University Of Edinburgh Department of Geography). Also useful for many mapping terms.
David J. Bertuca, Map Librarian, Arts & Sciences Libraries, University at Buffalo.
Created 13 August 2002. Comments are welcome.
The materials selected above do not necessarily reflect the policies and procedures of the State University of New York at Buffalo.