Glossary for geographical names web services

This glossary contains definitions of terms and acronyms commonly used in the CGNDB Web services.


Application Programming Interface.

Bounding Box

A Bounding Box represents a rectangular geographical area here defined using a min y (latitude), min x (longitude), max y (latitude), max x(longitude), e.g., bbox=43.7 -79.4:43.8 -79.35.


A circle represents a geographical search area using a latitude, a longitude and a radius.


The Canadian Geospatial Data Infrastructure.


The Canadian Geographical Names Database.


The CGNDB Key is a unique identifier used in the Canadian Geographical Name Database (CGNDB) and in the database of some members of the GNBC. This five character alphabetic key enables unique identification of a single entry in the CGNDB dataBase.


The Canadian Geographical Names Service and its website have been replaced with the Web services available on the Canadian Geographical Names website.

Concise Code

Concise Code denotes the type of geographical feature attributed to a geographical location. Examples of concise code are LAKE, BAY, ISL, RIVER, CITY.

Data View Options

A results formatting option enabling the returned data to be displayed in the format specified by the selection. Some supported data view options include Standard, XML, HTML, GML, KML and CSV.

Date Since

Date Since is used to search against any geographical names that have been created or modified since the specified date value.


Used when performing a geoname search. Default is 'leading' edge search, while 'exact' will perform a search for the exact geoname.


A geographical entity (e.g., a lake, a bay, an island, a river, a mountain, a municipality, etc.). Synonymous with a geographical feature.


A geographical feature (e.g., a lake, a bay, an island, a river, a mountain, a municipality, etc.). Synonymous with a geographical entity.

Feature ID

The Feature ID (sometimes called the NAME_ID) is a unique identifier of 32 alphanumeric characters enabling the unique identification of a geographical feature (e.g., a lake, a bay, an island, a river, a mountain, a municipality, etc.). Multiple databases (from various federal, provincial, and private agencies) contain this Feature Id which allows the various mapping representations of a single geographical entity and multiple names of the entity to be linked together.


A federal, provincial and territorial government initiative that provides free geospatial base data for Canada on their GeoBase website.


GeoName is the name of the geographic feature or place users will use to query the CGNDB.


A Geographic Information System is a software that displays and can be used to create geographical maps.


Geographical Names Board of Canada.


The Geographical Names Search Service, the name search tool on the former CGNS website has been replaced by the improved GeoNames query on the Canadian Geographical Names website.


Language returns certain terms in the language of choice, English or French.


The National Topographic System (NTS) is a series of geographic maps covering Canada. The series contains almost 1,000 maps at the scale of 1/250 000 that covers the whole of Canada. Such a map on a 1 m by 1 m paper sheet displays about 250 km by 250 km of land. The series also contains almost 15,000 maps at the scale of 1/50 000 also covering the whole of Canada. Such a map on a 1 m by 1 m paper sheet displays about 50 km by 50 km of land.

NTS Map No

The NTS map number is an alphanumeric serial key designated by the National Topographic System (NTS) and is used to identify a particular map from the NTS series. A particular geographic entity may have multiple NTS map numbers associated to it since the entity in question may appear on multiple maps.

Order Results by

A result formatting option allowing the alphabetical ordering of returned results by a particular attribute such as place name, region, or concise code.


Region is the province or territory that has approved the geographical name in question. The geographical entity in question may also be found in adjacent provinces or territories.


The status of the name. It may be Official, Formerly Official, Rescinded or Withdrawn name. It may also be an official Pan-Canadian, an Official Equivalent in Manitoba, an Official Alternate in Ontario, etc.


A Uniform Resource Identifier is a string of characters used to identify a name or a resource on the Internet, e.g., "http://...", "ftp://...", "mailto:...", "file:...".


An Extensible Markup Language (XML) is a set of rules for encoding documents in machine-readable format.