- A geographical name reflects the diverse dimensions of the culture of that area, including the life-styles of people, their taste and preferences, and language. Therefore, it is of crucial importance to appropriately use geographical names as they are cultural heritages with engraved history of life.
The National Geographic Information Institute (NGII) of the Republic of Korea systematically manages geographical names, focusing on their collection, preservation and utilization. Since 1958, it has maintained a special expert committee that overlooks the approval and change of standardized geographical names. To preserve geographical names, it has published a series of the book Origins and History of Geographical Names.
In addition, the NGII continuously submitted working papers to the United Nations Conference on the Standardization of Geographical Names and United Nations Group of Experts on Geographical Names on the use and management of geographical names in the Republic of Korea to help the international community better understand and use the Korean geographical names. In cooperation with related experts, it also participated in the activities of the international standardization of geographical names and tried to contribute to the working of the international society of toponymy.
The current publication Toponymic Guidelines for Map and Other Editors: For International Use is intended to provide assistance in understanding and using geographical names in the Republic of Korea. Conforming to the standards provided by the UNGEGN, and written in both English and Korean, this book contains contents such as linguistic characteristics of the Korean language, writing of the Korean alphabet Hangeul, romanization standards, and introduction of the authorities and management system of the naming process. It also provides lists of major geographical names used in the Republic of Korea.
I hope this publication will be a useful source of information for map editors, users and all who are interested in geographical names in the world to understand and use geographical names in the Republic of Korea.