Thursday, February 28, 2013

2013 Geographic Names Conference

Mark your calendars for April 30 – May 4, 2013

2013 Geographic Names Conference

Call for Papers

Opportunity / Goal
The 2013 conference will provide the opportunity to share the combined knowledge of the United States Board on Geographic Names (US-BGN), its staff, State Geographic Names Authority experts, and other State and Federal partners with anyone who has a vested interest in the inner workings of geographic names and the process by which they are made official for Federal use.

We invite anyone who uses geographic names in their work, and persons who would like to share their experiences in geographic names, standardization, policies, and practices to submit proposals for individual presentations (30 min), panel sessions (up to 1.5 hrs), or a roundtable discussion topic.  Any individual or organization working with geographic names and map production is encouraged to apply.  Proposals are welcome from university scholars, community leaders, or anyone with a personal or professional interest in geographic names and their application to maps.

As official State Geographic Names Authorities, we are often made aware of efforts by State Legislators to create new geographic names or change existing names. How does this impact the official naming process at the Federal level? What happens when State, County, City, or Town officials and mapping departments apply geographic names that have not been through the official naming process? These individuals may apply names with good intentions, but are unaware of the official approval process. During the 2013 COGNA conference we will explore ways to improve the communication among all levels of government. This topic can sometimes create as much tension as well as lead to more questions.  Who is the authority that decides what is official? Does the process change if the geographic feature is within the boundaries of a local jurisdiction? Or, on Federally administered lands?  How do the Federal Government’s policies affect naming practices at the State and local level?  How do name changes affect the emergency preparedness community? We hope to provide answers to these and many other questions.

Program Highlights
The conference is open to the public for a small registration fee, which includes all conference materials, attendance at the Conference Opening with Federal cartographers’ reports (formerly the reception), and admission to all daytime conference sessions.  Optional activities include a Friday evening Banquet and Saturday Toponymic Tour, which require separate fees.  Each year the conference hosts a State-Federal Roundtable Discussion, a meeting of the US-BGN Domestic Names Committee, and several academic presentations.  The 2013 conference will also include workshops by the Forest Service regional cartographers and the U.S. Geological Survey geospatial liaisons on their geographic names roles, responsibilities, and recent activities.

Submission details:
Please send a 250-word abstract to Wayne Furr at  Indicate what type of presentation and abstract you are sending – individual or panel discussion.  For panel discussion provide the names of all people involved and their affiliation.  In addition to presentations and panel discussions, we are requesting topics for the State-Federal Roundtable discussion. We hope that you will save the dates and join us at the 2013 Council of Geographic Names Conference April 30—May 4, 2013 in Minneapolis-Saint Paul, Minnesota.

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