Gazetteer  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

A gazetteer is a geographical dictionary or directory, an important reference for information about places and place names (see: toponymy), used in conjunction with a map or a full atlas. It typically contains information concerning the geographical makeup of a country, region, or continent as well as the social statistics and physical features, such as mountains, waterways, or roads. Examples of information provided by gazetteers include the location of places, dimensions of physical features, population, GDP, literacy rate, etc. This information is generally divided into overhead topics with entries listed in alphabetical order.

Gazetteers of ancient Greece existed since the Hellenistic era. The first known gazetteer of China appeared by the 1st century, and with the age of print media in China by the 9th century, the Chinese gentry became invested in producing gazetteers for their local areas as a source of information as well as local pride. Although existent only in fragments, the geographer Stephanus of Byzantium wrote a geographical dictionary in the 6th century which influenced later European compilers of gazetteers by the 16th century. Modern gazetteers can be found in reference sections of most libraries as well as on the Web.

The word was occasionally used in newspaper titles, although it has long fallen out of fashion. See The York Gazetteer.

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Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Gazetteer" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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