Place names are recognised as foundation spatial data and the Intergovernmental Committee on Surveying and Mapping (ICSM) supports cooperation between the place name authorities in Australia and New Zealand. ICSM’s interest in place names is coordinated through the Place Names WG (PNWG).



Place names connecting people, information and place from the past, through the present and into the future.



The standardisation of place names and place naming practices across Australian and New Zealand i.e. to deliver, wherever possible, cohesive governance and guidance for the determination of place names, how they’re recorded, and how they’re used.



Members represent the principal place names authorities in Australia and New Zealand. These are predominantly the state, territory or commonwealth place name authorities of each country, plus two research and data management agencies that complement the distributed nature of Australia’s names authorities. A member of the ICSM executive committee is also involved and provides alignment and connectivity between the work of PNWG and other ICSM activities.



  • Provide a framework for delivery of standardised place naming practices
  • Provide a framework for delivery of comprehensive place names products
  • Facilitate provision of expert advice to government and industry for effective decision making relating to place names
  • Facilitate preservation of the heritage and cultural significance of place names.


History and legacy

Read more about the History and legacy of the working group.