Texas Geographic Names Committee

The Texas Geographic Names Committee is the guide for standardizing geographic names in the State of Texas, in cooperation with the Council of Geographic Names Authorities (COGNA) and the U.S. Board on Geographic Names, as part of the national standardization process.

The purpose of the committee can be found in Part (e) of Sec. 16.021 of the Texas Water Code, which states the following:

(2) obtain information in response to disagreements regarding names and name spellings for natural and cultural features in the state and provide this information to the Board on Geographic Names of the United States Department of the Interior;

(3) make recommendations to the Board on Geographic Names of the United States Department of the Interior for naming any natural or cultural feature subject to the limitations provided by Subsection (f); The Council of Geographic Names Authorities (COGNA) is an association of state and federal government agencies representing the official and recognized geographic names authorities in the United States who work to promote national standardization of the names of geographic features for official use throughout the country.

The Council of Geographic Names Authorities (COGNA) is an association of state and federal government agencies representing the official and recognized geographic names authorities in the United States who work to promote national standardization of the names of geographic features for official use throughout the country.

What is Standardization?

Standardization is important to eliminate confusion, uncertainty, and misunderstanding. This may occur when:

  • More than one name is used for the same place or feature
  • The same name is applied to different features
  • The spelling of a name is inconsistent.

The end result is incalculable savings in time and money by increasing the efficiency of a nation’s government and other institutions. It can prevent misunderstanding, and just as important, can eliminate the inconsistency that occurs when different agencies try to determine geographic name use. Additionally, correct, consistent geographic names often provide the critical element in emergency response situations for first responders to locate and help protect human lives.

National standardization allows a country to exercise its prerogative to establish its own standard names. This process started in the United States in 1890 when President William Harrison signed an Executive Order creating the United States Board on Geographic Names.