GNS Compilation Details

GNS Placename Datasets - Processing Details

Data Source:

The Geographic Names Database is a public domain dataset produced and published by the United States Board on Geographic Names. According to the official publication information: "Toponymic information is based on the Geographic Names Data Base, 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 Maps and Geodata link at"


"GNS Country Files, China." Geographic Names Database (c) 2000 U.S. Board on Geographic Names Public Domain Dataset

Source Website:

Download GNS data

Documentation on GNS FIELD NAMES

GNS website

CHGIS Processing of GNS files

CHGIS used the 1990 CITAS polygons to spatially join administrative jurisdiction data to the GNS point features. We also clipped out many of the FIELDS from the original GNS files that contained NULL values. The result are thirty separate GIS layers, one for each province (circa 1990). All of the features found in the Provincial GIS layer have been stamped with their parent jurisdictions at the County and the Prefecture levels. The jurisdiction information includes Placenames and National Standard Geographic Codes (see GuoBiao Table 2260 1991 for more information on GB Codes).

For example, the feature called Yiwu, which has no jurisdictional information in the original GNS file, contains the following information in the CHGIS GNS China 1990 Placenames in Yunnan layer:

  • PROV_PY = YUNNAN (Province Name in Pinyin)
  • PREF_ID = 532800 (Prefecture Level Guobiao 2260 -1991 Code Number)
  • PREF_PY = Xishuangbanna Daizu Zizhizhou (Prefecture Name in Pinyin)
  • CNTY_CH = 勐腊县 (County Name in GBK Encoded Chinese Characters)
  • CNTY_PY = Mengla Xian (County Name in Pinyin)
  • CNTY_ID = 532823 (County Level Guobiao 2260 - 1991 Code Number)