An automated inventory of the names and locations of physical and cultural geographic features located throughout the United States.Contains the location of all names on all U.S. Geologic Survey (USGS) maps of Montana and all federal and local maps inventoried by the USGS. Includes populated places, mountain peaks, rivers and streams, schools, farms, glaciers, railroad sidings, etc.This version of the GNIS was downloaded from the USGS web site on September 24, 2002, converted to ESRI format, and the coordinates were converted to Montana State Plane Coordinates. The GNIS contains a list of over 23,000 un-named wells and springs and 2,000 places with unknown coordinates, which have been deleted from this copy.This version of the data is missing the GNIS feature-id field, which is the unique identifier for each feature.Where the GNIS contains multiple coordinates for a feature, the data point is located at the primary coordinate. For streams, this is usually the mouth of the stream, which may be outside of Montana.Each feature is represented in this layer by its "primary point". A geographic feature may have only one primary point regardless of size or extent. The following rules for primary points were applicable in the mid 2000's, it is not known if the rules were exactly the same in 2002. The primary point of a linear feature depends on the feature class. If feature class equals stream, valley or arroyo, the primary point is the mouth. The primary point of a canal, channel, or trail is the center. The primary point of an areal feature is the approximate geographic center with the following exceptions: The primary point of a populated place is the center of original place, if known, such as the city or town hall, main post office, or town square regardless of changes over time; The primary point of a reservoir is the center of the dam; The primary point of a summit, range, ridge, or pillar is the highest point. These points do not represent feature boundaries or geometries and should not be confused with them.
The GNIS is an inventory and location of place names, to promote geographic feature name standardization and to serve as the Federal Government's repository of information regarding feature name spellings and applications for features in U.S. The names listed in the inventory can be published on Federal maps, charts, and in other documents. The feature locative information has been used in emergency preparedness, marketing, site-selection and analysis, genealogical and historical research, and transportation routing applications.