National gazetteer

Unifi ScotlandThis paper brings to life the concept of a national gazetteer for Scotland.

The idea of creating gazetteers for purposes of government is not new and can be traced back to the time of Alexander the Great. The Domesday Book is perhaps our best known historic example and a key point in the understanding of gazetteers is in the Oxford English Dictionary description of a “gazetteer” as being a “geographic index or dictionary”, rather than as a database of land, asset and property information, as gazetteers are sometimes considered today.

In the 1990’s the ScotLIS project ( was instigated to provide a single point of access to land, asset and property information in Scotland and involved the Registers of Scotland, British Geological Survey, Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors and local government.

This idea largely failed. This paper brings the debate up to date, demonstrates the relevance of a national gazetteer and proposes how the idea can be reinvigorated in the present day.

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