Geographic Names Committee


Toponyms, or geographic nomenclature, are names which represent sites of human occupation (cities, towns etc), natural geographic features (mountains, lakes, bays etc) and bounded areas (states, localities, regions etc). Toponyms are a means of public and personal reference for location description and identification and provide intelligence relating to where a place is, what is there and key elements of maps and marine charts.

Geographic Names Committee

Originally known as the Nomenclature Advisory Committee, the Geographic Names Committee (GNC) was appointed as an advisory committee to the Minister for Lands in 1936 to provide advice on geographical naming issues. Appointments to the GNC are made by the Minister for Lands and represent many different points of view, from local communities to professional institutions and government agencies within Western Australia.

The GNC is served by a Secretary and a Secretariat, both of which are provided by Landgate. This office is responsible for managing the nomenclature needs for geographical features, administrative boundaries, localities and roads and for the maintenance of the State's Gazetteer, GEONOMA (geo = geographic, noma = Latin for 'names'), and nomenclature database. The database contains official names and geographical coordinates of geographic features in Western Australia including the official spelling of the name, feature type, classification, derivation, map number, coordinates and any alternative and historical names.

GEONOMA is recognised by the Western Australian Government as the primary source and official register for all approved named geographic features, administrative boundaries and road names and their positions and/or extents. Names added to or amended within GEONOMA are automatically propagated to features in other linked government systems.

Read the Policy and Standards for Geographic Naming in Western Australia.

Responsibilities of the committee

  • Review and recommend naming actions and undertake other functions as required in relation to nomenclature.
  • Advise the Minister on the establishment and development of the principles, policies and procedures.
  • Disseminate information and monitor and review compliance with the principles, policies and procedures.
  • Review naming actions, transactions and issues which impact on agencies and may attract significant interest and approve papers and reports to third/external parties which may prompt media, public or government scrutiny.

This page was last updated on: 18 Sep 2021