A gazetteer is a vector data set which contains coordinates and place names.  Because it is a GIS data base, you can go from the map to names, or the names to the map.

USGS creates gazetteers for the United States. NGA creates country gazetteers for the rest of the world, which are publicly available.  NGA uses different coding from the USGS.

Neither USGS not NGA actually produce GIS formats, and both make the conversion somewhat tedious without software written for that purpose.

Both NGA and USGS gazetteers have limited accuracy. 

The gazetteers are point data, even for linear or areal features.  For a large feature like the river or ocean, the database has a single pair of coordinates, which often will not be within the particular state downloaded.

GEBCO undersea features names gazetteer.

Marine regions and gazetteer:

Download and convert gazetteer files for use.

You can treat the converted files as a standard database or use specialized options in MICRODEM.

For an interesting look at geographic names, see Mark Monmonier's From Squaw Tit to Whorehouse Meadow: How Maps Name, Claim, and Inflame.

last revised 9/29/2017