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COGNA 2014 Annual Conference, April 29 to May 3, Austin, Texas

Keynote Speaker

John L. Davis, PhD

Davis is a former Executive Director and Director of Research for the Institute of Texan Cultures, academic museum for The University of Texas at San Antonio. He has taught in the divisions of Literature, Classics, Philosophy, and Communication at UTSA and The University of Texas at Austin.

He is a freelance writer, exhibit designer, occasional storyteller, tyro metaphysician, and self-described 'bad poet'. Publications and projects have concerned topics including Texas settlement and cultural history; the Texas Rangers, historiography, urban histories of San Antonio and Houston, literary analysis, ghost stories, geographical exploration, humanities research methodology, and vampirism.

A former resident of Center Point, Texas, and London, England, he now resides in Mason, Texas, where his wife and cats allow him to live with them.

The Texas Geographic Names Committee (TGNC) and the Council of Geographic Names Authorities (COGNA) cordially invite you to Austin, Texas. The COGNA conference-workshop will be held on April 29-May 3, 2014 at the Holiday Inn on Town Lake (Lady Bird Lake).

This year's theme is Geographic Names: Our Past is Present

Attendees from a variety of complementary backgrounds will share their experiences, their expertise, and will work towards improving standardization practices across the Toponymic community. COGNA will provide an exciting and diverse program ranging from educational presentations to discussions about best practices used to manage geographic names information.

Participants will gain a unique opportunity to:

  • Gain insight about the integration of geographic names with other geographic base data layers
  • Learn about name standardization policies at the federal, state, and local levels of government
  • Resolve conflicts regarding naming procedures

The conference is intended to provide discussions about:

  • The authorities responsible for the decision about the officially recognized name
  • The potential for the naming process to change if Indigenous place names are within federally recognized Indigenous lands
  • Requirements needed to ensure that geographic names are harmonized across multiple geographic data layers
  • Impacts of geographic naming on emergency response


The conference is open to the public.

Registration fee includes all conference materials, welcome reception, and admission to all daytime conference sessions.

Optional activities include the Friday evening banquet and Saturday Toponymic Tour.

Download Registration Form

Please email your completed form to twfurr@cogna50usa.org

Further information on COGNA is available at http://www.cogna50usa.org/. More about the Texas Geographic Names Committee is on the TNRIS site, here: http://www.tnris.org/about

The Austin-based conference committee is excited to extend a big Texas welcome for this lively and informative meeting.

10:00AM – 2:50PM Registration
3:00PM – 5:00PM COGNA Business Meeting
Voting Members
6:00PM – 9:00PM Opening Reception: Reception Speaker provides welcome at 7pm
Everyone | Harrison Eppright, ACVB
WEDNESDAY, April 30th
7:30AM – 8:30AM Registration
8:30AM – 8:45AM Opening Remarks & Housekeeping 
Claire DeVaughan & Richard Wade
8:45AM – 9:00AM Executive Secretary Remarks 
Wayne Furr
9:00AM – 10:00AM Keynote Opening
Dr. John L. Davis, former Executive Director of the Institute of Texan Cultures
10:00AM – 10:30AM Break
10:30AM – NOON U.S. Board on Geographic Names - Domestic Names Committee Meeting (USBGN – DNC) 
DNC Voting members
NOON – 1:30PM Lunch on your own
1:30PM – 3:00PM USBGN – DNC meeting continued
DNC Voting members
3:00PM – 3:30PM Break
3:30PM – 5:00PM USBGN – DNC meeting continued 
DNC Voting members
Thursday, May 1st
7:30AM – 8:30AM Registration
8:30AM – 10:00AM State Names Authorities’ Reports 
Wayne Furr, Moderator
10:00AM – 10:30AM Break
10:30AM – Noon State-Federal Roundtable 
Texas Committee members, Moderators
The State/Federal Roundtable should be considered the most important session of the conference.,Topics are often linked to the Principles, Policies, and Procedures but consideration should be much broader with subjects for GNIS and other matters of applied toponymy that delegates and attendees would deem of interest and useful.
Noon – 1:30PM Lunch on your own
1:30PM – 2:00PM People have Friends, so Should Your Data! 
Doug Caldwell, US Army Corps of Engineers
2:00PM – 3:00PM Presentation workshop by Esri:,Transforming Authoritative Place Names into Labels on Maps using ArcGIS 
Charlie Frye, Chief Cartographer, Esri
3:00PM – 3:30PM Break
3:30PM – 5:00PM Presentation workshop by Esri, continued
Charlie Frye, Chief Cartographer, Esri
Friday, may 2nd
8:30AM – 9:00AM Stages of Toponymy: A Study of Settlement names in Accra, Ghana
Yaw Sekyi-Baidoo, University of Education, Winneba, Ghana
9:00AM – 9:30AM The Paris Project:,56,306 Miles in Search of Paris
Dr. Carla Knorowski, Chicago, Illinois
9:30AM – 10:00PM A Look at French Names in Texas
Dr. Andre Lapierre, University of Ottawa, Canada, Retired
10:00AM – 10:30AM Break
10:30AM –11:30AM The El Camino Real de los Tejas National Historic Trail
Steven Gonzales, El Camino Real de los Tejas Trail Association
11:30AM – Noon State Names Authorities Summarily Disapproving Petitions? The Illinois Board vs the Teacher
Dr. Edward Callary, Northern Illinois University
Noon – 1:30PM Lunch on your own
1:30PM – 2:00PM Some Recent Native Place Names Issues in Alaska
Dr. Gary Holton, Alaska Native Language Center
2:00PM – 2:30PM Influence of German Settlers and Historical Events on Kendall County Place Names
Mike Howle, Kendall County GIS Coordinator
2:30PM – 3:00PM Name Changes as a Result of Anti-German Feeling in the Great War
Dr. Tom Gasque, University of South Dakota, Retired
3:00PM – 3:30PM Break
3:30PM – 4:00PM Adjusting the Boundary Line of Maryland and Virginia:,Black-Jenkins Award of 1877
Dr. Janet Gritzner, South Dakota State University
4:00PM – 4:30PM The Devil is in the Details:,How the Devils River Got its Name
Mike Cox, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department
4:30PM – 4:45PM Invitation to the COGNA 2015 conference
Joan Antonson
4:45PM – 5:00PM Wrap-up
Claire & Wayne
6:00PM – 9:00PM Banquet with Geographic Names Presentation:,“Hard-Bottomed Fords and the Path of the El Camino Real de los Tejas”
Charles Porter, St Edward’s University
Saturday, may 3rd
7:30AM – 5:30PM Educational Toponymic Tour – Texas Hill Country
Claire DeVaughan
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