Is there an extensive list of geographic "objects", "entities" or "features" that can be discovered in the geographic environment, relatively static and therefore can be geo-located and represented on a map, for example building, restaurant and also park and lake would be part of this hypothetical list, as opposed to, for example apple, cat, and fun.

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    Related: How many kinds of “address” are there? – blah238 Feb 27 '12 at 2:15
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    This question is predicated on a strong form of objectivism, one that is probably not appropriate in many GIS applications. See, for instance, Alan MacEachren How Maps Work. MacEachren draws from George Lakoff, especially his seminal Women, Fire, and Dangerous Things. On the basis of psychological experiment and linguistic analysis, Lakoff argues that many forms of "object," "entity," or "feature" are created by cognitive processes influenced by experience and culture, and therefore aren't really out there to be "discovered." – whuber Feb 27 '12 at 5:00
  • Is this in context of the Semantic Web? – Kirk Kuykendall Feb 27 '12 at 5:05
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    Is there a specific problem you are trying to solve? I think as written this question runs afoul of the "What kind of questions should I not ask here?" section of the FAQ. You should only ask "practical, answerable questions based on actual problems that you face". – blah238 Feb 27 '12 at 6:35
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    @Vladtn, I don't see the point in this question as the list is subjective and therefore endless. I, for one, do not agree with your examples - in my opinion apple and cat can be geographic features if one wants to map them ( if a police car/bird migration can be mapped, no reason why cats can't be mapped). – jonatr Feb 28 '12 at 8:17

The list is nearly endless...manhole cover, pipe line, mailbox, fire hydrant, zip code boundary, intersection, highway sign, historical marker, census block, speed limit area, fence, school boundary...

  • You're right, I hope my comment on the opposition between geographic space and table top space should limit the field. In any case, I can't see the three examples I give at the end (apple, cat, fun) being part of this admittedly large enumeration. – Vladtn Feb 27 '12 at 8:34

Wikipedia has a category of geography-related lists: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Geography-related_lists

Also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Outline_of_geography#Types_of_geographic_features

Potentially better than a "list of things" but not much. These types of questions should be community wiki unless you narrow down the scope to something specifically answerable.

  • Good suggestion. You can do more than just suggest, though. This recent post (on another site's meta) is a nice reminder of what you, as a high-rep member of our community, can accomplish: meta.stats.stackexchange.com/questions/1067/…. (Often, mods are reluctant to vote on borderline cases because, ... well... we would like to get a better sense of the community and our votes to close preclude any further voting.) – whuber Feb 27 '12 at 5:06
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    I don't have enough reputation to make it community wiki but looking at the FAQ I also don't think it's a specific enough question as written so maybe voting to close it as being too general will encourage the OP to reformulate the question into something that can be practically answered. – blah238 Feb 27 '12 at 6:37
  • Thanks, that's a good start. It could be combined with the list of places: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lists_of_places . I was hoping for something more manageable but that could be it. – Vladtn Feb 27 '12 at 8:39

This is the sort of thing the Semantic Web is supposed to address with Vocabularies. It looks a bit rough, but the GeoVocab might be worth investigating.


Have you looked at GeoNames?

Lakes in the U.S. query


This site gives general land form and water feature names as well as region specific feature names.


  • This list focuses on physical geography, it doesn't include restaurants for example and other man made features. – Vladtn Feb 27 '12 at 8:35

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