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United States Board on Geographic Names facts for kids

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The United States Board on Geographic Names (BGN) is a United States federal body whose purpose is to establish and maintain uniform usage of geographic names throughout the government of the United States.

The Board's purpose is to standardize -- not regulate -- US and foreign geographic names, including the names of geographical features underseas and in Antarctica.


The Board was created in 1890 by executive order of President Benjamin Harrison. The Board was given authority to resolve questions about geographic names.

In 1947, the Board was recreated by Congress in Public Law 80-242.

The Geographic Names Information System includes topographic map names and bibliographic references. The names of books and historic maps which confirm the feature or place name are cited. Variant names, alternatives to official federal names for a feature, are also recorded.

Processes for standardizing non-US geographic names, Antarctic names and undersea features were developed.

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