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Feature Class Types

The GNIS feature class terms and abbreviations currently consist of nine or fewer letters and were chosen for computer search and retrieval purposes. They do not necessarily represent terminology for the identification of all kinds of cultural and natural features. Although some of the terms may agree with dictionary definitions, they represent more generalized categories. Some examples of commonly used generics are also listed and cross-referenced to the feature type entries to assist in understanding the range of cultural and natural entities represented by the term. Each of the valid feature class types listed is linked directly to its definition in Appendix C of the GNIS Data Users Guide.


[A] [B] [C] [D] [E] [F] [G] [H] [I] [J] [K] [L] [M] [N] [O] [P] [Q] [R] [S] [T] [U] [V] [W] [X] [Y] [Z]

- A -

academy - see "school"
ahu - see "summit"
airfield - see "airport"
airport (airfield, airstrip, landing field, landing strip)
airstrip - see "airport"
amphitheater - see "basin"
anabranch - see "stream"
arch (bridge, natural bridge, sea arch)
archipelago - see "island"
area (badlands, barren, delta, fan, garden)
arm - see "bay"
arroyo (coulee, draw, gully, wash)
atoll - see "island"
awawa - see "stream"

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- B -

backwater - see "lake"
bald - see "summit"
bank - see "levee"
badlands - see "area"
bar (ledge, reef, sandbar, shoal, spit)
barranca - see "valley"
barren - see "area"
basin (amphitheater, cirque, pit, sink)
battlefield - see "locale"
bay (arm, bight, cove, estuary, gulf, inlet, sound)
bayou - see "stream"
beach (coast, shore, strand)
bench (level)
bend (bottom, loop, meander)
berg - see "summit"
berm - see "levee"
bight - see "bay"
bluff - see "cliff"
bog - see "swamp"
borough - see "civil"
bottom - see "bend"
branch - see "stream"
breakwater - see "dam"
bridge (causeway, overpass, trestle)
bridge - see also "arch"
brook - see "stream"
building (except church, hospital, school)
burial - see "cemetery"
burying ground - see "cemetery"
butte - see "summit"
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- C -

caldera - see "crater"
camp - see "locale"
canal (ditch, lateral)
canyon - see "valley"
cape (lea, neck, peninsula, point)
cascade - see "falls"
cataract - see "falls"
causeway - see "bridge"
cave (cavern, grotto)
cavern - see "cave"
cay - see "island"
cemetery (burial, burying ground, grave, memorial garden)
cerro - see "summit"
channel (passage, reach, strait, thoroughfare, throughfare)
chapel - see "church"
chasm - see "valley"
chimney - see "pillar"
church (chapel, mosque, synagogue, tabernacle, temple)
cienega - see "swamp"
cirque - see "basin"
city - see "ppl (populated place)"
clearing - see "flat"
civil (borough, county, municipio, parish, town, township)
cliff (bluff, crag, head, headland, nose, palisades, precipice, promontory, rim, rimrock)
coast - see "beach"
col - see "gap"
colina - see "summit"
college - see "school"
cone - see "summit"
cordillera - see "range"
coulee - see "arroyo"
county - see "civil"
cove - see "valley" and "bay"
crag - see "cliff"
crater (caldera, lua)
creek - see "stream" and "gut"
crest - see "ridge"
crossing (overpass, underpass)
crossroad - see "locale"
cuesta - see "ridge"
cumbre - see "summit"

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- D -

dam (breakwater, dike, jetty)
delta - see "area"
dike - see "dam"
distributary - see "stream"
ditch - see "canal"
dome - see "summit"
draw - see "arroyo" and "valley"

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- E -

escarpment - see "ridge"
estuary - see "bay"

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- F -

falls (cascade, cataract, waterfall)
fan - see "area"
farm - see "locale"
flat (clearing, glade, playa)
forest (national forest, national grasslands, State forest)
fork - see "stream"

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- G -

gap (col, notch, pass, saddle, water gap, wind gap)
garden - see "area"
geyser
ghost town - see "locale"
glacier (icefield, ice patch, snow patch)
glade - see "flat"
glen - see "valley"
gorge - see "valley"
grade - see "slope"
grassland - see "plain"
grave - see "cemetery"
grotto - see "cave"
gulch - see "valley"
gulf - see "bay", "sea", and "valley"
gully - see "arroyo"
gut (creek, inlet, slough)

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- H -

hammock - see "island"
harbor (hono, port, roads, roadstead)
head - see "cliff" and "summit"
headland - see "cliff"
highland - see "plain"
high school - see "school"
hill - see "summit"
hogback - see "ridge"
hollow - see "valley"
hono - see "harbor"
horn - see "summit"
hospital (infirmary)
hospital - see also "building"
hummock - see "island"

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- I -

icefield - see "glacier"
ice patch - see "glacier"
infirmary - see "hospital"
inlet - see "bay" and "gut"
isla - see "island"
island (archipelago, atoll, cay, hammock, hummock, isla, isle, key, moku, rock)
isle - see "island"
isthmus

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- J -

jeep trail - see "trail"
jetty - see "dam"

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- K -

kepula - see "lava"
key - see "island"
kill - see "stream"
knob - see "summit"
knoll - see "summit"
kula - see "plain"

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- L -

lac - see "lake"
lae - see "ridge"
lagoon - see "lake"
laguna - see "lake"
lake (backwater, lac, lagoon, laguna, pond, pool, resaca, waterhole)
lake - see also "reservoir"
landing - see "locale"
landing field - see "airport"
landing strip - see "airport"
lateral - see "canal"
lava (kepula, lava flow)
lava flow - see "lava"
lea - see "cape"
ledge - see "bar"
levee (bank, berm)
level - see "bench"
locale (battlefield, crossroad, camp, farm, ghost town, landing, railroad siding, ranch, ruins, site, station, windmill)
loop - see "bend"
lua - see "crater"

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- M -

marais - see "swamp"
marsh - see "swamp"
mauna - see "summit"
meander - see "bend"
memorial garden - see "cemetery"
mesa - see "summit"
mesita - see "summit"
military (historical)
mine (pit, quarry, shaft)
miscellaneous - see "other"
moku - see "island"
monument - see "pillar"
mosque - see "church"
mound - see "summit"
mount - see "summit"
mountain - see "summit"
municipio - see "civil"

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- N -

national forest - see "forest"
national historical landmark - see "park"
national grasslands - see "forest"
national park - see "park"
natural bridge - see "arch"
neck - see "cape"
nose - see "cliff"
notch - see "gap"

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- O -

ocean - see "sea"
oilfield
other (miscellaneous named manmade entities)
overpass - see "bridge" and "crossing"

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- P -

palisades - see "cliff"
parish - see "civil"
park (national historical landmark, national park, State park, wilderness area)
pass - see "gap"
passage - see "channel"
path - see "trail"
peak - see "summit"
peninsula - see "cape"
pillar (chimney, monument, pinnacle, pohaku, rock tower)
pinnacle - see "pillar"
pit - see "basin" and "mine"
pitch - see "slope"
plain (grassland, highland, kula, plateau, upland)
plateau - see "plain"
playa - see "flat"
po (post office)
pocosin - see "swamp"
pohaku - see "pillar"
point - see "cape"
pond - see "lake"
pool - see "lake"
port - see "harbor"
populated place - see "ppl"
post office - see "po"
ppl (populated place; city, settlement, town, village)
precipice - see "cliff"
promontory - see "cliff"
pup - see "stream"
puu - see "summit"

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- Q -

quarry - see "mine"

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- R -

railroad siding - see "locale"
ranch - see "locale"
range (cordillera, sierra)
rapids (riffle, ripple)
ravine - see "valley"
reach - see "channel"
reef - see "bar"
resaca - see "lake"
reserve (except forests, civil divisions, parks)
reservoir (lake, tank)
ridge (crest, cuesta, escarpment, hogback, lae, rim, spur)
riffle - see "rapids"
rim - see "cliff" and "ridge"
rimrock - see "cliff"
rio - see "stream"
ripple - see "rapids"
river - see "stream"
roads - see "harbor"
roadstead - see "harbor"
rock - see "island" and "summit"
rock tower - see "pillar"
ruins - see "locale"
run - see "stream"

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- S -

saddle - see "gap"
sandbar - see "bar"
settlement - see "ppl (populated place)"
school (academy, college, high school, university)
school - see also "building"
sea (gulf, ocean)
sea arch - see "arch"
seep - see "spring"
shaft - see "mine"
shoal - see "bar"
shore - see "beach"
sierra - see "range"
sink - see "basin"
site - see "locale"
ski trail - see "trail"
slope (grade, pitch)
slough - see "gut" and "stream"
snow patch - see "glacier"
sound - see "bay"
spit - see "bar"
spring (seep)
spur - see "ridge"
State forest - see "forest"
State park - see "park"
station - see "locale"
strait - see "channel"
strand - see "beach"
stream (anabranch, awawa, bayou, branch, brook, creek, distributary, fork, kill, pup, rio, river, run, slough)
sugarloaf - see "summit"
summit (ahu, bald, berg, butte, cerro, colina, cone, cumbre, dome, head, hill, horn, knob, knoll, mauna, mesa, mesita, mound, mount, mountain, peak, puu, rock, sugarloaf, table, volcano)
swamp (bog, cienega, marais, marsh, pocosin)
synagogue - see "church"

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- T -

tabernacle - see "church"
table - see "summit"
tank - see "reservoir"
temple - see "church"
thoroughfare - see "channel"
throughfare - see "channel"
town - see "civil" and "ppl (populated place)"
township - see "civil"
trail (jeep trail, path, ski trail)
trestle - see "bridge"
tower
tunnel

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- U -

underpass - see "crossing"
university - see "school"
upland - see "plain"

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- V -

valley (barranca, canyon, chasm, cove, draw, glen, gorge, gulch, gulf, hollow, ravine)
village - see "ppl (populated place)"
volcano - see "summit"

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- W -

wash - see "arroyo"
waterfall - see "falls"
waterhole - see "lake"
water gap - see "gap"
well
wilderness area - see "park"
windmill - see "locale"
wind gap - see "gap"
woods

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