Geographic Names

Data Construction

The MGNF is based on the federal Geographic Names Information system (GNIS).  The MGNF contains thousands of edits and additions to the GNIS, made at the State Library, that have not been accepted by the federal government yet.

The State Library accepts corrections and additions to the MGNF from any source, and we correct errors that we notice during the course of our work.  All corrections are submitted to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and are recorded in a data updates database.  Individual corrections may be submitted to USGS via email contact with the GNIS staff or through an online GNIS database edit form.  The USGS is usually responsive to making individual corrections as they are submitted, except that they have stopped maintenance of administrative feature names.  The State Library has on three occasions made a large number of corrections to the database and submitted them to USGS, but these have never been incorporated into the GNIS.

When the USGS releases an update to its downloadable GNIS file, we download the new data and run it through a process that re-applies the changes from our data updates database to the new data.