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agency bullet NGA GEOnet Names Server (GNS)

The geographic names in this database are provided for the guidance of and use by the Federal Government and for the information of the general public. The names, variants and associated data may not reflect the views of the United States Government on the sovereignty over geographic features.

Database most recent update - March 02, 2015

Database next estimated update - March 09, 2015

NOTICE: The URL to this website will be changing in the near future. The OGC Viewer and Text Based Search page URLs will remain the same. More information will be posted soon.


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Putting a Name to a Place

       The GEOnet Names Server (GNS) is 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 (cross-references), which are useful for finding purposes, as well as non-Roman script spellings of many of these names. All the geographic features in the database contain information about location, administrative division, and quality. The database can be used for a variety of purposes, including establishing official spellings of foreign place names, cartography, GIS, GEOINT, and finding places.

GNS Search - Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) Viewer Page

      Provides access to an OGC compliant Web Map Services (WMS) interface and high level graphical search. This page works best using Internet Explorer 7 or higher, although it will function properly with most modern browsers.

GNS Search - Text Based Page

      Provides access to a text based query interface and mechanisms for initiating queries and generating outputs. This page works best using Internet Explorer 7 or higher, although it will function properly with most modern browsers.

GNS Offered Services

About GNS

  • GNS has been in service since 1994.
  • GNS Web Map Service (WMS) was established in 2007.
  • GNS Web Feature Service (WFS) was established in 2008.
  • GNS Web Feature Service Gazetteer (WFS-G) was established in 2011.
  • GNS Scaled Web Map Service (Scaled WMS) was established in 2013.
  • GNS database contains over 6 million features.
  • GNS database contains over 9 million feature names.
  • GNS feature names data is stored and encoded in Unicode UTF-8 (All search and output functions present and generate the feature names data using the same UTF-8 encoding).
  • The data served by GNS is in a geographic coordinate system based on the WGS84 datum and ellipsoid.
  • GNS feature coordinates are approximate and are intended for finding purposes.
  • GNS database is updated weekly.
  • GNS does not contain any coverage data for the United States of America or its Dependent areas nor does it cover Antarctica. To obtain U.S. or Antarctica coverage data, please access the United States Geological Survey (USGS) Geographic Names Information System (GNIS) database of names.
  • There are no licensing requirements or restrictions in place for the use of the GNS data. However, we recommend using the following citation to identify the GNS as a source:
    Toponymic information is based on the Geographic Names Database, containing official standard names approved by the United States Board on Geographic Names and maintained by the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency. More information is available at the Products and Services link at The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency name, initials, and seal are protected by 10 United States Code Section 425.

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Document last modified March 02, 2015

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