2013 Minneapolis/St. Paul

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As we move closer to the annual Geographic Names Conference the government Sequester is hampering our registration. While this means that the conference will be much smaller this year, there are no plans to cancel.

Mark your calendars for April 30 – May 4, 2013

2013 Geographic Names Conference

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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. See Preliminary Program

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.

Call for Papers:
Although the program has been filled, we may be in need of backup presentations. Please send a 250-word abstract to Wayne Furr at twfurr@cogna50usa.org for consideration.  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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Program Item


TUESDAY, April 30

10:00 – 5:00


3:00 –5:00

COGNA Business Meeting: White Pelican Bay Room

Agenda     Minutes, 2011    2011 Annual Report     2012 Financial     Proposed Constitution     Proposed Bylaws

Wayne Furr & voting members

6:00 – 9:00

Conference Opening, Reception: Woodlands Room



7:30 – 9:30

Registration, Continental Breakfast: White Pelican Bay Room


10:00 –

Tour of the Nature Center

Pete Boulay

THURSDAY, May 2: Sessions will be in the White Pelican Bay Room

7:30 – 9:30

Continental Breakfast


8:00 – 8:15 Opening House Keeping Announcements Pete Boulay

8:15 – 9:30

State Names Authorities’ Reports

Wayne Furr

10:00 – 10:30



10:30 – Noon

State-Federal Roundtable
The State/Federal Roundtable should be considered the most important session of the conference.  Topics are often linked to the Principles, Policies, and Procedures but consideration should be much broader with subjects for GNIS and other matters of applied toponymy that delegates and attendees would deem of interest and useful.

Glen Yakel, moderator

Noon – 1:30


1:30 – 3:00

State-Federal Roundtable continued

Glen Yakel, moderator

3:00 – 3:30



3:30 – 4:00

Advancing Native Place Names in Alaska

Gary Holton 

4:00 – 4:30 The GNBC at 116: Building on the past to take on the challenges and opportunities of the future Heather Ross
4:30 – 5:00 Foreign Language Influence & Allonymy: A Case of some Toponyms of Southern Ghana Yaw Sekyi-Baidoo

FRIDAY, May 3: Sessions will be in the Hawks Ridge Room

7:30 – 9:30

Continental Breakfast


8:00 – 9:30

Forest Service Representatives Session

Panel: Dan White

10:00 – 10:30



10:30 – 11:00

Place Name Dictionaries in the United States

Tom Gasque

11:00 – 11:30 A look at how Virginia's small Board handles Name Proposals Cassandra Farrell
11:30 – Noon Diversity and Distribution of Wetland Toponymic Generics in the United States Janet Gritzner

Noon – 1:30

Lunch on your own


1:30 – 2:00

Board on Geographic Names and NHD Stewardship Coordination in Missouri

Anna Nowack


2:00 – 2:30 Pseudo-French and French Place Names in Minnesota André Lapierre 
2:30 – 3:00 Pending Pete Boulay

3:00 – 3:30



3:30 – 4:00


Janet Gritzner

4:00 – 4:30 Pending Tom Gasque

4:30 – 4:45

Invitation to the COGNA 2014 conference

W. Furr for Claire DeVaughan

4:45 – 5:00


Pete Boulay & Wayne Furr

6:00 – 9:30

Banquet with Geographic Names Presentation: Woodlands Room

 Mark Seeley


8:00 – 5:30

Educational Toponymic Tour – A Look at Geographic Names in the Twin Cities and Surrounding Area

Pete Boulay & Glen Yakel

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Hotel Information & Reservation


Hilton Minneapolis/St. Paul Mall of America
3800 American Blvd E
Bloomington, MN 55425

Group Name: Council of Geographic Names Authorities
Group Code: COG

Note: Room reservations, modifications, name changes, and additions will be accepted on a space and rate available basis. Call the Hilton's reservation manager at 1-952-548-0993 or the hotel's direct number 1-952-854-2100.

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For additional information contact
Mr. T. Wayne Furr, Executive Secretary
Council of Geographic Names Authorities
Telephone: 405-830-9848 mobile or 405-364-7278
E-mail: twfurr@cogna50usa.org

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