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Data Sources From which we derived the Populated Places Database.

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The database includes the following data sources:

Source Advantages Disadvantages
GeoNet Names Server
  • Many places (over 2 million)
  • Many alternate names (nearly 3 million)
  • Names transliterated consistently according to published standard
  • No coverage in U.S.
  • Many records with poor coordinate precision (1 minute)
  • Uneven depth of coverage in different countries and areas of countries
  • USBGN standard transliteration not current preferred local method for some areas
USGS GNIS
  • Comprehensive (for U.S.); complementary to GNS
  • Good Populations for U.S. (2000 Census)
  • Definitive Names (USBGN standard)
  • U.S. Only

Global Gazetteer (download)

  • Population for many places (over 100,000)
  • More comprehensive than GNS for a few countries
  • Name rendering more in keeping with local preferences in some areas (including some names in local scripts)
  • Poor coordinate precision
  • Some coordinates missing (particularly for urban agglomerations)

 

 

DCW/VMAP1 Populated Place Points (download as VPF via NGA Raster Roam)(alternate download)
  • Very good coordinate accuracy
  • Consistent worldwide coverage
  • Omits secondary cities in urban areas
  • Poor name rendering
  • No population data
DCW/VMAP1 Built-Up Area Polygon Centroids(download as VPF via NGA Raster Roam)(alternate download)
  • Consistent worldwide coverage
  • Omits secondary cities in urban areas
  • Built-up area polygons frequently include other places than the one named
  • Poor name rendering
  • No population data
Instituto Nacional De Estadistica Geografia E Informatica (INEGI)(download from CIESIN)
  • Large number of populations
  • Many alternate names

 

  • Mexico only
  • No diacritics in names
Habitats Project (1994)
  • Provides populations and alternate names for some places missed by other datasets
  • Good coverage of places and their relationships in urban areas
  • Poor coordinate accuracy in some areas
  • Older populations (mostly early 1990s)