Polar Record

SCAR Bulletin No 138

A composite gazetteer of Antarctica

Roberto Cervellati, Chiara Ramorinoa1, Jörn Sieversa2, Janet Thomsona3 and Drew Clarkea4

a1 Progetto Antartide, ENEA, CR– Casaccia, Post Office Box 2400, 00100 Roma AD, Italy

a2 Bundesamt für Kartographie und Geodäsie, Richard-Strauss-Allee 11, Frankfurt am Main, D-60598, Germany

a3 British Antarctic Survey, High Cross, Madingley Road, Cambridge CB3 OET

a4 Department of Industry, Science and Resources, GPO Box 9839, Canberra, ACT 2601, Australia


Publication of the Composite gazetteer of Antarctica by the SCAR Working Group on Geodesy and Geographic Information is a major milestone in the evolution of Antarctic toponymy. It has taken six years to produce, and contains 21,552 names representing 16,563 geographic features, sourced from 20 national Antarctic gazetteers and one international agency. The Gazetteer has been designed to avoid any value judgement regarding precedence or form of the various place-names. The contents of the two volumes are described, and the results of an analysis of the names data are presented. It is noted that 476 geographic features have two or more completely different names, whereas 3377 features have multiple names due to translation or transliteration. The limited progress towards development of toponymic guidelines for the Antarctic is described, along with plans for further development of the Gazetteer. An immediate benefit of the publication is that national Antarctic geographic names authorities will now be able to avoid approving new names for geographic features that are already named.