The United Nations Group of Experts on Geographical Names today in Vienna ended a six-day session aimed at encouraging more consistent and accurate use of place names.
The Group’s Chairperson, Helen Kerfoot, opened the meeting by underscoring the challenge of keeping up with a rapidly developing world in which technology and communications networks provide instantaneous access to information.
The Director of the UN Statistics Division, Paul Cheung, stressed the importance of place names in terms of geographical information systems, mapping, data collection and other issues.
Reports from experts indicated substantial progress was being made with respect to technical developments in the field of geographical names data storage and handling, national programmes of name standardization, and international initiatives on data exchange.
Participants emphasized the cultural value of names, the need to support geographical names activities in Africa, and collaboration with international organizations engaged in activities ranging from the creation of global standards to humanitarian response operations, according to officials who attended the event.