U.S. Geographic Names Information System (GNIS) - Illinois Portion

Metadata also available as - [Outline] - [Parseable text] - [XML]

Frequently-anticipated questions:


What does this data set describe?

Title:
U.S. Geographic Names Information System (GNIS) - Illinois Portion
Abstract:
This metadata document is abstracted from the GNIS metadata provided with the original data, with some ISGS-specific information added. The original source for these data is <http://geonames.usgs.gov>. The ISGS makes them available as a convenience for Illinois data users.

This is a point feature class of named places and features in Illinois. It includes place name, location, and general feature type. There are many general feature types, for example, Populated Place, Hospital, Post Office, Reservoir, Airport, Cemetery, and School. Refer to the Overview Description of the Entity and Attributes section for a complete list.

The spatial reference is the Geographic Coordinate system (longitude and latitude). The GNIS metadata fails to specify a datum for the longitude/latitude values. This is not significant because the locations are extremely generalized. However, to make the data work in ArcGIS, the ISGS arbitrarily assigned the NAD83 datum to the data.

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 original metadata file is included as a binary attachment to the XML version of this metadata document and also as a file named Orig_USGS_metadata.txt. The attribute definitions in the original metadata did not match the fields actually present in the data, but the mapping from metadata field name to actual field name was more or less obvious.

Supplemental_Information:
The U.S. Board on Geographic Names was created in 1890 and established in its present form by Public Law in 1947 to establish and maintain uniform geographic name usage throughout the Federal Government. The Board serves all government agencies and the public as the central authority to which name inquiries, name issues, and new name proposals can be directed. It is comprised of representatives of Federal agencies associated with land management and cartography. Sharing its responsibilities with the Secretary of the Interior, the Board develops principles, policies, and procedures governing the use of both domestic and foreign geographic names as well as undersea and Antarctic feature names.
  1. How should this data set be cited?

    U.S. Geological Survey, 19810501, U.S. Geographic Names Information System (GNIS) - Illinois Portion: ISGS GIS Database GISDB.IL_GNIS_2006_Pt, U.S. Geological Survey, Reston, VA.

    Online Links:

  2. What geographic area does the data set cover?

    West_Bounding_Coordinate: -91.512655
    East_Bounding_Coordinate: -87.375015
    North_Bounding_Coordinate: 42.574729
    South_Bounding_Coordinate: 36.979496

  3. What does it look like?

  4. Does the data set describe conditions during a particular time period?

    Beginning_Date: 1974
    Ending_Date: 2006
    Currentness_Reference: ground condition

  5. What is the general form of this data set?

    Geospatial_Data_Presentation_Form: vector digital data

  6. How does the data set represent geographic features?

    1. How are geographic features stored in the data set?

      Indirect_Spatial_Reference:
      Features are located by State and county, and related to the USGS topographic map on which the feature is shown.
      This is a Vector data set. It contains the following vector data types (SDTS terminology):
      • Entity point (56363)

    2. What coordinate system is used to represent geographic features?

      Horizontal positions are specified in geographic coordinates, that is, latitude and longitude. Latitudes are given to the nearest 0.00028. Longitudes are given to the nearest 0.00028. Latitude and longitude values are specified in decimal degrees.

      The horizontal datum used is North American Datum of 1983.
      The ellipsoid used is Geodetic Reference System 80.
      The semi-major axis of the ellipsoid used is 6378137.000000.
      The flattening of the ellipsoid used is 1/298.257222.

      Vertical_Coordinate_System_Definition:
      Altitude_System_Definition:

  7. How does the data set describe geographic features?

    IL_GNIS_2006_Pt

    ST_ALPHA
    State name. The State or States or State equivalents containing the geographic feature. This dataset contains features in States of the United States, the District of Columbia, territories, outlying areas of the United States, and associated areas. This is relational data, not spatial data. The data owner specifies the value(s) associated with each geographic feature. Values are represented by state name, state numeric code, and state alpha code. The primary State is the State containing the primary point and is assigned sequence number one. Secondary States are those other than the primary State containing the feature and are sequenced according to guidelines of the Board on Geographic Names, consistent with the primary and secondary counties containing the feature. For linear features (streams, valleys, arroyos) the sequencing is from mouth toward source. Secondary States are displayed in the GNIS public web query site but currently are not available from the GNIS web map service, XML service, or downloadable files. Customized data files will be provide upon request. This data may be particularly helpful for features having no known, recognized, standard, or available boundary data. (Source: Geographic Names Project, USGS, 523 National Center, Reston, VA 20192-0523)

    Formal codeset
    Codeset Name:Codes For The Identification Of The States, The District Of Columbia And The Outlying Areas Of The United States, And Associated Areas
    Codeset Source:Federal Information Processing Standards Publication 5-2, Codes For The Identification Of The States, The District Of Columbia And The Outlying Areas Of The United States, And Associated Areas

    ST_NUM
    State FIPS number. Refer to ST_ALPHA.

    COUNTY
    County name. The county or counties or county equivalents containing the geographic feature. This dataset contains features in counties or county equivalents of the States of the United States, the District of Columbia, territories, outlying areas of the United States, and associated areas. This is relational data, not spatial data. The data owner specifies the value(s) associated with each geographic feature. Values are represented by county name and county numeric code. The primary county is the county containing the primary point and is assigned sequence number one. Secondary counties are those other than the primary county containing the feature and are sequenced according to guidelines of the Board on Geographic Names. For linear features (streams, valleys, arroyos) the sequencing is from mouth toward source. Secondary counties are displayed in the GNIS public web query site but currently are not available from the GNIS web map service, XML service, or downloadable files. Customized data files will be provide upon request. This data applies particularly to features for which there is no known, recognized, standard, or available boundary data. (Source: Geographic Names Project, USGS, 523 National Center, Reston, VA 20192-0523)

    Formal codeset
    Codeset Name:Counties And Equivalent Entities Of The United States, Its Possessions, And Associated Areas
    Codeset Source:Federal Information Processing Standards Publication 6-4, Counties And Equivalent Entities Of The United States, Its Possessions, And Associated Areas

    COUNTY_NUM
    County FIPS number. Refer to COUNTY.

    MAP_NAME
    The name of the standard USGS 7.5x7.5 degree quadrangle map(s) containing the representation of the feature. Map names are displayed in the GNIS public web query site but currently are not available from the GNIS web map service, XML service, or downloadable files. Customized data files will be provide upon request. (Source: Geographic Names Project, USGS, 523 National Center, Reston, VA 20192-0523.)

    Formal codeset
    Codeset Name:The Geographic Names Information System (GNIS)
    Codeset Source:The official database of names assigned to standard USGS products according to USGS policy and procedures, including standard 7.5x7.5 degree quadrangle maps and digital products. Geographic Names Project, USGS, 523 National Center, Reston, VA 20192-0523 (gnis_manager@usgs.gov)

    SHAPE
    Feature geometry. (Source: ESRI)

    Coordinates defining the features.

    FID
    Internal feature number. (Source: ESRI)

    Sequential unique whole numbers that are automatically generated.

    Shape
    Feature geometry. (Source: ESRI)

    Coordinates defining the features.

    FEATURE_ID
    A permanent, unique identifying number for a geographic feature record. This number is assigned by the Geographic Names Information System and used as a relational key for uniquely identifying, indexing, and searching geographic features and for integrating or reconciling GNIS data with other data sets. The number has no information content. The GNIS Feature ID supersedes the Federal Information Processing Standard (FIPS) 55 Place Code as the Federal standard unique feature identifier and is under consideration as an ANSI standard. (Source: Geographic Names Project, USGS, 523 National Center, Reston, VA 20192-0523)

    Range of values
    Minimum:1
    Maximum:9,999,999,999

    CLASS
    A feature class is a designation for a group of features in a broadly defined descriptive category. All features are assigned to one and only one class. They do not individually classify all kinds of cultural and natural features. By design, there are no Federal or industry standards or guidelines for feature classification. These classifications originally were developed for mainframe file structure search purposes. Although the terms are generally consistent with dictionary definitions, they may not conform exactly and are not always intuitive. (Source: Geographic Names Project, USGS, 523 National Center, Reston, VA 20192-0523 (gnis_manager@usgs.gov).)

    Formal codeset
    Codeset Name:Feature class values and definitions for the Geographic Names Information System (http:\\geonames.usgs.gov)
    Codeset Source:Geographic Names Project, USGS, 523 National Center, Reston, VA 20192-0523 (gnis_manager@usgs.gov)

    FEATURE_NA

    PRIMARY_LA

    PRIMARY_LO

    PRIMARY__1

    PRIMARY__2

    SOURCE_LAT

    SOURCE_LON

    SOURCE_L_1

    SOURCE_L_2

    ELEV_METER

    Entity_and_Attribute_Overview:
    Here is a complete list of the values that appear in the CLASS field.

    Airport Arch Area Bar Basin Bay Beach Bend Bridge Building Canal Cape Cemetery Channel Church Civil Cliff Crossing Dam Falls Flat Forest Gap Gut Harbor Hospital Island Lake Levee Locale Military (Historical) Mine Oilfield Park Pillar Plain Populated Place Post Office Range Rapids Reserve Reservoir Ridge School Spring Stream Summit Swamp Tower Trail Valley Well Woods


Who produced the data set?

  1. Who are the originators of the data set? (may include formal authors, digital compilers, and editors)

  2. Who also contributed to the data set?

    The Geographic Names Information System was developed by the U.S. Geological Survey in cooperation with the U.S. Board on Geographic Names.

  3. To whom should users address questions about the data?

    Contact_Instructions: Please refer to the Distribution Information section.


Why was the data set created?

The Geographic Names Information System 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. The database holds the Federally recognized name of each feature and defines the feature location by state, county, USGS topographic map, and geographic coordinates. Other attributes include names or spellings other than the official name, feature designations, feature classification, historical and descriptive information, and for some categories the geometric boundaries. The database assigns a unique, permanent feature identifier, the Feature ID, as a standard Federal key for accessing, integrating, or reconciling feature data from multiple data sets. The GNIS collects data from a broad program of partnerships with Federal, State, and local government agencies and other authorized contributors. The GNIS provides data to all levels of government and to the public, as well as to numerous applications through a web query site, web map and feature services, file download services, and customized files upon request.


How was the data set created?

  1. From what previous works were the data drawn?

    USGS (source 1 of 6)
    U.S. Geological Survey, Unknown, 1:24,000-scale topographic maps: U.S. Geological Survey, Reston, VA.

    Type_of_Source_Media: paper
    Source_Scale_Denominator: 24000
    Source_Contribution: Feature names and attribute data.

    USBGN (source 2 of 6)
    U.S. Geological Survey, Unpublished material, Records of the U.S. Board on Geographic Names.

    Type_of_Source_Media: card, paper, and electronic files
    Source_Contribution: Feature names and attribute information

    USFS (source 3 of 6)
    U.S. Forest Service, Unknown, U.S. Forest Service 1:24,000-scale topographic maps and visitor maps.

    Type_of_Source_Media: paper
    Source_Scale_Denominator: 24000
    Source_Contribution: Feature names and attribute information

    NOAA/NOS (source 4 of 6)
    National Ocean Service (NOS), Unknown, National Ocean Service charts.

    Type_of_Source_Media: paper
    Source_Contribution: Feature names and attribute information

    Various (source 5 of 6)
    The State Names Authorities, Council of Geographic Names Authorities (COGNA), U.S. Forest Service, National Ocean Service (NOS), National Park Service (NPS), Other Federal, state and local agencies, and Public, Unknown, Unknown.

    Other_Citation_Details:
    Since the original data compilation was completed from the original sources, GNIS accepts data or data changes for consideration from any source, and upon validation by the Board on Geographic Names or the appropriate Federal or state agency, will enter the data into the database. The GNIS has an active data gathering and maintenance program. A web-based data date entry and edit application allows authorized users to submit transaction data directly for validation and entry into the database, where it immediately becomes available to all web services and applications. A test and demonstration site with no connection to production data is available for review, training, and familiarization. Batch files will be accepted in most standard formats. Government agencies at all levels are encouraged to join this program. Other organizations and individuals will be considered on a case basis. For additional information or to request user accounts for entry and edit of production data and web seminar training, contact gnis_manager@usgs.gov.
    Type_of_Source_Media: Multiple electronic or text media types.
    Source_Contribution: Feature names and attribute information

    (source 6 of 6)
    US Board on Geographic Names, 20060719, IL_DECI.zip.

    Online Links:

    Other_Citation_Details: The Illinois data file was downloaded on 20060823.
    Source_Contribution: XY locations and attributes

  2. How were the data generated, processed, and modified?

    Date: May-1981 (process 1 of 5)
    GNIS Phase I data compilation and edit - Feature name and attribute data were collected from the largest-scale USGS topographic maps available. These data are compared to the records of the U.S. Board on Geographic Names.

    Person who carried out this activity:

    Roger L. Payne
    U.S. Geological Survey
    Chief, Geographic Names Project
    523 National Center
    Reston, Virginia 20192

    703 648 4544 (voice)
    gnis_manager@usgs.gov

    Hours_of_Service: Monday through Friday 0730-1700 Eastern Time
    Data sources used in this process:
    • USGS
    • USBGN

    Date: Not complete (process 2 of 5)
    GNIS Phase II data compilation and edit - Feature name and attribute data are collected from official state and local sources and other approved sources including historical maps and documents.

    Person who carried out this activity:

    Roger L. Payne
    U.S. Geological Survey
    Chief, Geographic Names Project
    523 National Center
    Reston, Virginia 20192

    703 648 4544 (voice)
    gnis_manager@usgs.gov

    Hours_of_Service: Monday through Friday 0730-1700 Eastern Time
    Data sources used in this process:
    • USGS
    • USBGN

    Date: Not complete (process 3 of 5)
    GNIS Maintenance program - Federal and state maintenance cooperators submit new and corrected data in conjunction with their mapping and geographical information system data maintenance programs. The GNIS has an active data gathering and maintenance program. A web-based data date entry and edit application allows authorized users to submit transaction data directly for validation and entry into the database, where it immediately becomes available to all web services and applications. A test and demonstration site with no connection to production data is available for review, training, and familiarization. Batch files will be accepted in most standard formats. Government agencies at all levels are encouraged to join this program. Other organizations and individuals will be considered on a case basis. For additional information or to request user accounts for entry and edit of production data and web seminar training, contact gnis_manager@usgs.gov or the individual below.

    Person who carried out this activity:

    Louis A. Yost
    U.S. Geological Survey
    Chief, Geographic Names Information Section
    523 National Center
    Reston, Virginia 20192

    703 648 4552 (voice)
    lyost@usgs.gov

    Hours_of_Service: 0900-1700 Eastern time
    Data sources used in this process:
    • USGS
    • USBGN
    • USFS
    • Various
    • NOAA/NOS

    Date: Not complete (process 4 of 5)
    Partnerships - the Geographic Names Project enters into partnerships with State names authorities and State and local GIS agencies to integrate name, location, and attribute data in the GNIS with State and local datasets. These partnerships utilize GIS and web technology to automate and simplify data maintenance, ensure data consistency, integrity, and accuracy, and meet the requirements of the Board on Geographic Names for national names standardization. Government agencies at all levels are encouraged to join this program. Other organizations and individuals will be considered on a case basis. For additional information contact the individual below.

    Person who carried out this activity:

    Roger L. Payne
    U.S. Geological Survey
    Chief, Geographic Names Project
    523 National Center
    Reston, Virginia 20192

    703 648 4544 (voice)
    gnis_manager@usgs.gov

    Hours_of_Service: Monday through Friday 0730-1700 Eastern Time
    Date: 24-Aug-2006 (process 5 of 5)
    The data in tab-delimited text format were downloaded from the GNIS website. The data were imported into an Excel spreadsheet and exported as comma-delimited.

    The comma-delimited text file was loaded into ArcMap and displayed as an XY Event Theme based on the fields Primary_lon_dec and Primary_lat_dec. NAD83 was assumed.

    The event theme was exported to a personal geodatabase feature class. Eight obviously erroneous points falling far outside Illinois were deleted. Points falling outside Illinois but relatively close to the Illinois state boundary were retained.

    The personal geodatabase feature class was imported into ArcSDE and analyzed.

    The GNIS metadata was downloaded from <http://geonames.usgs.gov/docs/metadata/gnis.txt> and updated with ISGS-specific information. The original metadata file is included as a binary attachment to the XML version of this metadata document. The attribute definitions in the original metadata did not match the fields actually present in the data, but the mapping from metadata field name to actual field name was more or less obvious.

    Person who carried out this activity:

  3. What similar or related data should the user be aware of?

    U.S. Geological Survey, Unknown, Geodata.gov, Geospatial One-Stop.

    Online Links:

    Other_Citation_Details:
    Geodata.gov is a geographic information system (GIS) portal, also known as the Geospatial One-Stop (GOS) that serves as a public gateway for improving access to geospatial information and data under the Geospatial One-Stop E-Government initiative. Geospatial One-Stop is one of 24 E-Government initiatives sponsored by the Federal Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to enhance government efficiency and to improve citizen services. See the Geographic Names community in geodata.gov.
    U.S. Geological Survey, Unknown, The National Map.

    Online Links:

    Other_Citation_Details:
    The National Map, is a seamless, continuously maintained set of public domain geographic base information that serves as a foundation for integrating, sharing, and using other data easily and consistently. The National Map viewer is a Web-enabled portal to all of the geospatial information contained in The National Map. This portal not only supports on-line access to the geospatial information, but also allows the download of digital data and creation of cartographic products. The GNIS supports The National Map as the source for the gazetteer search in Find Place function of The National Map viewer and as active names layers.
    U.S. Geological Survey, Unknown, The National Atlas.

    Online Links:

    Other_Citation_Details:
    The National Atlas summarizes national-scale geographical information and delivers easy to use, map-like views of America's natural and sociocultural landscapes. This digital version revises a large bound collection of paper maps that was published in 1970. The Atlas serves a diverse populace as an essential reference, a framework for information discovery, an instrument of education, an aid in research, and a reliable source of government information. It includes stimulating products and services for children and adults to understand complex relationships among environments, places, and people. It contributes to our knowledge of the environmental, resource, demographic, economic, social, political, and historical dimensions of American life. Though it cannot display detailed map information, the Atlas directs users to other sources for this information. The GNIS provides geographic feature, location, and attribute data to the National Atlas.
    U.S. Geological Survey, Unknown, The National Hydrography Dataset.

    Online Links:

    Other_Citation_Details:
    The National Hydrography Dataset (NHD) is a comprehensive set of digital spatial data that contains information about surface water features such as lakes, ponds, streams, rivers, springs and wells. Within the NHD, surface water features are combined to form "reaches," which provide the framework for linking water-related data to the NHD surface water drainage network. These linkages enable the analysis and display of these water-related data in upstream and downstream order. The GNIS provides geographic feature name data to the National Hydrography Dataset.
    National Geospatial Agency (NGA), Unknown, GEOnet Names Server.

    Online Links:

    Other_Citation_Details:
    The GEOnet Names Server (GNS) provides access to the National Geospatial Agency (NGA) database of foreign geographic feature names. The database is the official repository of foreign place-name decisions approved by the U.S. Board on Geographic Names (US BGN). Approximately 20,000 of the database's features are updated monthly.
    U.S. Census Bureau, Unknown, LandView.

    Online Links:

    Other_Citation_Details:
    LandView is a desktop mapping system that searches and maps selected information from the Environmental Protection Agency, the Census Bureau, and the U.S. Geological Survey. LandView contains a large subset of GNIS feature, location, and attribute data for the United States. It is available on DVD. See the LandView web site for information concerning the latest edition and ordering.
    , University of Illinois Web Privacy Notice.

    Online Links:


How reliable are the data; what problems remain in the data set?

  1. How well have the observations been checked?

    During Phase I data compilation, a random sample of 10% of the entries in the system were visually verified against the compilation source data (large-scale USGS topographic maps) to ensure an accuracy rate of at least 95%. Subsequent data compilation and input processes ensure accuracy with programmed validation checks for format and content, visual examination, and spot checks of data.

  2. How accurate are the geographic locations?

    Accuracy of these digital data is based upon the use of printed or electronic source graphics which are compiled to meet National Map Accuracy Standards. Comparison to the graphic source is used as control to assess digital positional accuracy.

  3. How accurate are the heights or depths?

  4. Where are the gaps in the data? What is missing?

    The data points are limited to Illinois. Here is the statement that was included with the GNIS metadata.

    This dataset contains information about United States physical and cultural geographic features of all types and classes, with the exception of most roads and highways. Subsequent to the original data compilation process, which was taken primarily from Federal maps, the GNIS has become dependent on input from Federal, State, county, and local government agencies and other approved sources. The completeness, currency, and accuracy of the data varies by area depending on the quality and timeliness of that input. Accordingly, the Geographic Names Project actively seeks to expand partnerships with Government agencies at all levels and other interested organizations. The latest tools and methodologies are being applied, including web map and feature services, and joint or linked web applications, to ensure that local data are properly represented in the GNIS and through the GNIS to all Federal agencies and to the public. Feature additions or corrections are accepted for consideration from any source, and when validated by appropriate agencies, will be entered into the database. Local and State agencies are encouraged to submit data and to participate in the GNIS partnership program. Non-government organizations with valuable data are considered on a case basis. Authorized partners have access to web based transaction entry and edit forms, which submit data directly to the GNIS for review and inclusion in the database. Partners also submit batch files in most standard formats, and coordinate with the Geographic Names Project to develop joint services, processes, and applications for greatest efficiency. Data entered into the GNIS immediately is available to all web services and applications dependent on it. For additional information or to request user accounts for entry and edit of production data and web seminar training, contact gnis_manager@usgs.gov.

  5. How consistent are the relationships among the observations, including topology?

    During Phase I data compilation, a random sample of 10% of the entries in the system were visually verified against the compilation source data (large-scale USGS topographic maps) to ensure logical consistency of locative references (geographic coordinates, topographic map, and county. Subsequent data compilation and input processes include programmed validation checks for logical consistency, visual examination, and spot checks of data.


How can someone get a copy of the data set?

Are there legal restrictions on access or use of the data?

Access_Constraints: None
Use_Constraints:
None. Acknowledgement of the U.S. Geological Survey would be appreciated in products derived from these data.

  1. Who distributes the data set? (Distributor 1 of 1)

    Information Office, Illinois State Geological Survey (ISGS), a division of the Institute of Natural Resource Sustainability (INRS) of the University of Illinois
    615 East Peabody Drive
    Champaign, Illinois 61820
    USA

    217-333-4747 (voice)
    isgs@isgs.illinois.edu

    Hours_of_Service: 8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m., Monday-Friday, U.S. Central Time
  2. What's the catalog number I need to order this data set?

  3. What legal disclaimers am I supposed to read?

    Refer to the Legal Notices of Terms and Conditions of the University of Illinois Web Privacy Policy (there is a link in the Cross References section) for policy statements regarding the following:

    Disclaimer of Liability Disclaimer of Warranties and Accuracy of Data Disclaimer of Endorsement Disclaimer for External Links Disclaimer of Duty to Continue Provision of Data Security Choice of Law

    By obtaining these data you agree to the provisions of the University of Illinois Web Privacy Policy, regardless of the manner in which the information was obtained.

  4. How can I download or order the data?

  5. What hardware or software do I need in order to use the data set?

    The data are intended for use with GIS software. The ISGS uses ESRI ArcGIS software, however, ESRI formats can be imported into many different GIS software packages. It is expected that customers who obtain these data have the technical expertise to use GIS software. The ISGS does not provide software support of any kind.


Who wrote the metadata?

Dates:
Last modified: 24-Feb-2009
Metadata author:

Contact_Instructions: Please refer to the Distribution Information section.
Metadata standard:
FGDC Content Standards for Digital Geospatial Metadata (FGDC-STD-001-1998)
Metadata extensions used:


Illinois Natural Resources Geospatial Data Clearinghouse

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