The “Glad You Asked” article, What is the correct name of…?, in a previous issue of Survey Notes addressed how to find the correct names of Utah’s geographic features using the U.S. Geological Survey’s Geographic Names Information System (GNIS).
This article addresses how to propose a new name or change an existing geographic feature name.
Policies for naming geographic features have been established by the Domestic Names Committee (DNC) of the U.S. Board on Geographic Names. Want to name a geographic feature after your boss or favorite geologist? First, wait until they have been deceased five years as features cannot be named after the living or recently deceased.
Additionally, they need to have had a direct and long-term association with the feature (tragic death at a site does not normally qualify). Exceptions are made for those who have made a significant contribution to the area or state and those “with an outstanding national or international reputation.”