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Tropical Toponymists

posted 30 Mar 2015, 15:56 by John Turl

A Google+ Community has been created to allow contributors to share information and promote discussion of place names in Ghana. Visit, join and share at Tropical Toponymists!

Map Links

posted 25 Dec 2014, 09:59 by John Turl   [ updated 25 Dec 2014, 10:38 ]

From today, new & updated toponym records will have Wikimapia links in addition to IndexMundi links. Users will probably find that IndexMundi remains the better tool for examining location, because the map has a pointer which remains invariant under zoom and translation operations. But Wikimapia will undoubtedly prove useful for those who wish to access third-party data. If you wish to use GPN location data (identified by * after the toponym in the IndexMundi header) to add to or modify Wikimapia, please acknlowledge GPN as the source by using the Library of Congress Cartographic Data Source Code ghpn in the Wikimapia description field, e.g. "Source: ghpn".


posted 12 Jul 2014, 09:47 by John Turl   [ updated 28 Jul 2014, 18:57 ]

Ghana Place Names has been allocated a 'Cartographic Data Source Code' by the Network Development & MARC Standards Office of the U.S.Library of Congress in Technical Notice 140130.
For further information about MARC (MAchine-Readable Cataloging), see:
The code for Ghana Place Names is ghpn.

This is probably an appropriate place to outline the sources and procedures by which GPN locates places.
  1. Wherever possible, places are first located on maps which use the Survey of Ghana (or the former Gold Coast Survey Department) as their primary source. This includes the U.S.Army Map Service, 1:250,000 (1954), the Shell Road Map of Ghana, 1:500,000 (1962), the SoG map of Ghana, 1:400,000 (1967), and the SoG sheet maps with various scales ranging from 1:250,000 to 1:50,000.
  2. In cases of uncertainty, other maps are used, which may have more up-to-date spellings of the place names, such as the Poverty Maps and the MiDA maps (see Map Sources).
  3. A match is then made with a name from either IndexMundi or the GEOnet Names Server by superimposing a marker on the 1962 map using the IM or GNS latitude & longitude. GNS data is used by default, as it is generally more accurate. For names not listed by IM or GNS, measurements or estimates are made from the available maps.
  4. IndexMundi is used to display the satellite image of the area around the place thereby located. If the place marker is not on a visible settlement, but there is a nearby visible settlement which can be seen to correspond to the place on the maps, the co-ordinates are adjusted to relocate the marker. This is indicated by the addition of an asterisk (*) at the end of the place name at the head of the IM webpage.
  5. If a place is not marked on the 1962 map, its location is stated, as a guide to the user, on the GPN toponym record, in the format "About N km XYZ of Biarakrom", where N is the nearest whole number of kilometres, XYZ is a 16-point compass bearing, and 'Biarakrom' is the name of a town visible on the 1962 map square linked on the record. This is computed using great-circle navigation formulae.

GPN @ Twitter

posted 23 Sep 2013, 16:43 by John Turl   [ updated 23 Sep 2013, 16:45 ]

I have set up a Twitter account for GPN to announce such things as additions to the online database. There are links on the Contact Us and Links pages, and the direct URL is:
If you would like to keep abreast of progress, please visit and Follow.

Allonyms & Heterographs

posted 14 Aug 2013, 12:40 by John Turl   [ updated 12 Jul 2014, 11:07 ]

From 14 August 2013, all new & updated toponym records in the online database will have fields under the place name for heterographs and allonyms (see Glossary). Important variations (e.g. Awutu Bereku/Obutu) will all be listed on the regional sub-page, linking to a single toponym record.

Tsoboi has gone

posted 2 Jul 2013, 11:19 by John Turl   [ updated 12 Jul 2014, 11:14 ]

The Tsoboi website, from which 27 toponym histories online were obtained, has been taken down, so the source URL links in the toponym records will now be dead. However the links still provide a way of listing all Tsoboi contributions. Just type 'Tsoboi' in the 'Search this site' field to list them.

Going Local

posted 25 Jun 2013, 06:42 by John Turl   [ updated 25 Jun 2013, 06:44 ]

Yesterday I attended a day conference at Birmingham University on the subject Going Local: African Texts and Cultures, and was privileged to be asked to present an account of Ghana Place Names. The conference program can be seen here: 


posted 6 May 2013, 01:54 by John Turl   [ updated 4 Jan 2015, 14:42 ]

Every month do a 'Feature of the Month' article on their website. This month's article is on Ghana Place Names. Read it here if you would like to know about the background to GPN:

Welcome No.92

posted 6 May 2013, 01:48 by John Turl

Welcome to our first visitor from Ethiopia! You are country no.92 on our FlagCounter.

New Districts 2012

posted 25 Oct 2012, 16:11 by John Turl

I have now updated The Database pages to show the new districts added in 2012. It has been difficult to obtain accurate information because not all online statements are consistent. Also there is apparently no information available about the new district boundaries, and a few of the new district capitals are not listed in town databases. It is therefore impossible at the moment to update individual toponym records which are affected. If any readers see errors in the information posted so far, please inform GPN at

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