ANTARCTIC PLACE-NAMES COMMISSION OF BULGARIA
TOPONYMIC GUIDELINES FOR ANTARCTICA
Compiled by Dr. Lyubomir Ivanov
Institute of Mathematics and Informatics
Bulgarian Academy of Sciences
In Antarctica geographical names are important elements of identification, orientation, localization and navigation,
providing an essential reference system for logistic operations, including search and rescue measures, and for
international scientific research. They facilitate information exchange in the field, in scientific publications and in
administrative measures under the Antarctic Treaty System. Geographical names also reflect the history of Antarctic
exploration. The principles and procedures for naming geographical features in Antarctica formulated hereafter:
(1) Are applied to land and subglacial features, ice shelves, and inshore features of the continental shelf south of 60º S;
(2) Should be followed on maps, in publications, in databases etc;
(3) Relate to Bulgarian place names and their Romanization;
(4) Are based on established practices in Antarctic place naming, and incorporate elaborations of the SCAR Work
Programme on Antarctic place names.
2. GENERAL PRINCIPLES
A geographical name primarily serves to distinguish the feature from all others; it should be unique in Antarctica. The
principal purpose of a name is to supply effective and appropriate means of identifying the feature beyond doubt;
commemoration of persons or events is a secondary consideration. New names are assigned to Antarctic features if it is
of necessity in the course of research or field work, or for navigation, or if they have become well established.
3. TYPES OF GEOGRAPHICAL FEATURES
A geographical name normally consists of a generic element defining the topographic feature class (bay, mount, glacier
etc.) and a specific element distinguishing it from geographical names of the same class. The generic element might be
omitted with the definite article used instead.
A grouping into the following three feature categories is useful when determining the appropriateness of new names for
First order features:
(1) Regions or lands
(3) Extensive mountain ranges, plateaus
(4) Ice shelves, large glaciers
(5) Extensive sub-glacial mountains or valleys
Second order features:
(2) Mountain ranges
(3) Great or prominent mountains
(5) Prominent capes
(6) Islands, ice rises
(7) Gulfs, large bays, harbours
(8) Straits or passages
(9) Sub-glacial ridges or valleys
Third order features:
(1) Minor mountains or hills, nunataks, cliffs, rocks
(2) Minor glaciers
(3) Lakes, streams
(4) Minor shore features, beaches, points, minor capes
(5) Minor bays, coves
(6) Parts of such features
Features having special significance or prominence in geographic discovery, scientific investigation, or the history of
Antarctica may be placed in the next higher category than their size would warrant.
4. SPECIFIC ELEMENTS OF GEOGRAPHICAL NAMES
Non-personal names applied to Antarctic features include:
(1) Names of national or international geography or culture;
(2) Names that commemorate events related to Antarctic exploration;
(3) Names that commemorate organizations involved directly or indirectly in carrying out, organization or funding of
(4) Names of ships, aircraft or vehicles operating in Antarctica;
(5) Names related to Antarctic science and scientific work;
(6) Names descriptive of shape, colour etc. provided that they are not too general a description.
Because Antarctica has been unveiled through the efforts of explorers, scientists, and others, it has become a common
practice to apply the names of such persons to Antarctic features. Personal names applied to Antarctic features include:
(1) Names of leaders or organizers of expeditions to Antarctica, leaders of field parties and ship captains, members of
expeditions, who have made outstanding contribution to the success of an expedition;
(2) Names of persons who have made outstanding discoveries in Antarctica or, through their work with Antarctic
expeditions, have made outstanding contributions to scientific knowledge or to the techniques of Antarctic exploration;
(3) Names of persons who have made important contributions in the planning, organization, outfitting, or operation of
(4) Names of persons who have provided major financial or material support to an expedition, or otherwise have
contributed to Antarctic exploration.
The type of personal contribution should generally be proportional to the magnitude category of the named feature.
5. INAPPROPRIATE NAMES
Names in the following categories are considered to be inappropriate and normally will not be considered, unless
otherwise appropriate according to the principles stated herein:
(1) Names in low taste, commonplace or of obscure or private origin, including names suggesting a relationship or
(2) Names of pets or of commercial products;
(3) Names of contributors of funds, equipment, and supplies, who by means of their advertising have endeavored to gain
commercial advantage as a result of their donations. This would not include advantages which result from testing of
donated equipment under Antarctic conditions;
(4) Descriptive names which are ambiguous, likely to have duplicates, or not particularly appropriate;
(5) Personal names combining both the given and the family name, or a given name only. Given names might be
acceptable in unusual situations, or to avoid the application of identical toponyms;
(6) Names containing two generic terms, or a title, or an acronym.
6. CRITERIA OF NAMES APPROVAL
Name proposals will be considered by the Antarctic Place-names Commission with regard to the following criteria:
(1) Chronological priority of discovery, possible naming of the feature by an expedition leader, or other relevant action;
(2) Importance of the feature in the course of research or field work, or for navigation;
(3) Correspondence between contribution of a person or organization and the category of the named feature;
(4) Brevity, easy pronunciation, and euphony of the proposed name;
(5) Extent to which usage has become established.
Names of geographical origin may be applied to features of a different topographic feature class.
Proposed names with unsuitable generics may be considered for approval with their generic terms modified by the
Usage considered sufficiently fixed or unanimous may be accepted as valid grounds for approval of a name that otherwise
would not qualify.
7. LANGUAGE AND SPELLING
Names are approved in their Bulgarian language forms using Cyrillic script, together with Roman spelling versions
obtained as outlined herein. Generic elements of names will normally be translated into one of the official Antarctic Treaty
languages which use Roman script (English, French, Spanish), with specific elements correspondingly Romanized.
Definite articles of place names which contain no generic elements may be dropped in the process with generics added
instead. In the case of English language, conversion of Bulgarian names to Roman spelling is based on the following
graphemic correspondences scheme:*
а → a, б → b, в → v, г → g, д → d, е → e, ж → zh, з → z,
и → i, й → y, к → k, л → l, м → m, н → n, о → o, п → p,
р → r, с → s, т → t, у → u, ф → f, х → h, ц → ts, ч → ch,
ш → sh, щ → sht, ъ → a, ь → y, ю → yu, я → ya
However, authentic Roman spellings of names of non-Bulgarian origin, and traditional Roman spellings which exist for few
Bulgarian names will have priority.
8. NAMES APPROVAL PROCEDURES
Proposals for new names should be submitted to the Antarctic Place-names Commission for approval, accompanied by
full information about the name, the reasons for its choice, and a clear description of the feature. This should include:
Proposed name form;
Co-ordinates and elevation of midpoint or summit, or of extremities if extended feature;
Distance and direction from associated named or unnamed features;
Topographic feature class;
Feature characteristics (shape, dimensions, total relief, steepness etc.);
Photo reference (vertical, oblique, satellite image etc.);
Map reference (title, scale, year of publication);
Reason for the choice of name;
Date of discovery, recording, mapping etc. and by whom (expedition or field party);
Particulars to specific element of the name (if an honoree, degree of association with the feature);
Name and address of the proposer.
Appropriate international co-ordination should be maintained to provide relevant comments and information before
decisions on new names are made. Names already approved by the Commission might be changed in exceptional
situations: to eliminate confusion or ambiguity, to standardize spelling, or to streamline name forms that are unnecessarily
long or otherwise inconvenient. If a place name is withdrawn in favour of another one, then its possible transfer to a new
feature may be considered. Proposed names should not be used officially until their formal approval.
Sofia, March 2, 1995
* Subsequently, this transliteration system became official in Bulgaria by way of the Government Ordinances
# 61 of 2 April 1999, # 10 of 11 February 2000, #269 of 3 October 2006 and #3 of 26 October 2006, and by the
2009 Transliteration Law.
© Antarctic Place-Names Commission. Released into Public Domain.