Tuesday, February 23, 2016

The Geography of US Place Names

A few weeks ago the Places! place name explorer was released. Places! is an application which allows you to map the spatial distribution of place-names in different countries around the world. Now there is a new United States specific place name application which you can use to explore the distribution of town & city place names in America.

Place Names in the United States has a database of around thirty thousand towns and cities in the United States. You can use the application to carry out some quite sophisticated searches to visualize the spatial distribution of different types of place names across the country.

For example you view the distribution of place names starting with Spanish articles (El, Los, Las) and San & Santa (mainly in the Southwest). Alternatively you can search using suffixes. For example you can view the distribution of towns with common British town endings, such as chester, wick, wich, pool, ham, ness, port & worth (mainly in the Northeast).

You can do these same kind of searches in Places!. However Place Names in the United States not only shows you the distribution of searched place names it also provides a choropleth map view of your results. When you carry out a search on Place Names in the United States you not only get a map showing the results of all your searched towns & cities but the states on the map are colored to show how many towns & cites with your search term are in each state.

In addition to this map view all the towns & cities resulting from a search are listed beneath the map, sorted by state.

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