4.1.7. Natural objects (vegetation, hydrography, terrain)

Below is a short list of established practices in the fields of publishing and cartography in Russia for formatting names of natural elements (vegetation, hydrography, and terrain items). You'll also find examples of how to translate (transliterate) these place names to English.

Rules for entering “Official names” and “Captions” differ in certain cases:

There are common writing rules that apply to both types of names:

4.1.7.1. The official name

4.1.7.1.1
The “Official” name should indicate the item type and its proper name.
4.1.7.1.1.1. The item type
Geographic terms for the item types (for example, a lake, island, or channel) are always included in full in the “Official” names.

Please capitalize item types in the names in accordance with English grammar rules for proper names.

  • This applies to all items, including polygonal and linear items. For example: Lake Elton, the Barents Sea.
  • Similarly, this applies to point natural items, whether they are used in the beginning of the name or not. For example: Mount Elbrus, the Friendship of Peoples Fountain, Ulagansky Pass.
4.1.7.1.1.2. The item proper name

In proper names of polygonal, linear and point natural items all words are capitalized in English.

Examples: Griboyedova Canal, Alnarp Park Arboretum, Sturry Road Community Park, Buckingham Palace Gardens.

4.1.7.1.2

Don't use abbreviations in “Official” names.

Exceptions are allowed if they are included in official documents regarding the naming or renaming of that map item. For example: im. V.I. Lenin

4.1.7.1.3

If a point item from the terrain or hydrography category doesn't have a proper name, you can enter its type in the official name field if that will provide additional information about it.

For example, you can enter “water fountain” under the official name for a water pump item.

4.1.7.1.4
As an exception, terrain and hydrography point, linear, and polygonal items without official names can be named if they are used as city landmarks in official documents (as well as in media and public transport stop names), or on local internet forums and major websites, provided that the naming is consistent across all sources.

If the name of a terrain or hydrography item is only mentioned in historical sources, don't name it on the map.

4.1.7.2. The name for the map caption

Set the name for the caption on the map only for the items listed here and in the form specified below.

4.1.7.2.1. An abbreviated type and proper name

These are only used to mark items of the following types: an isolated terrain feature, swamp, cape, or peninsula.

Examples of setting an official name and a caption name:

Category

“Official”

Name

Name

“For caption on map”

urochishche Frolikha urochishche ur. Frolikha
boloto Bolshoe boloto bol. Bolshoe
mys Opasny mys Opasny m.
poluostrov Rybachy poluostrov Rybachy p-ov
4.1.7.2.2. A proper name without a type

Used for point items of the hydrography and terrain categories.

For example: the official name is Mount Elbrus and the caption on the map is Elbrus.

4.1.7.2.3. A type and an abbreviated proper name

If the caption name uses a shortened form of the proper name (see 4.1.7.3. Abbreviations in names for captions on the map), then the name should include the item type to sound better.

For example: the official name is Yellowstone National Park and the caption name is Yellowstone Nat'l Park.

4.1.7.2.4. The type and proper name

For map items that have plural names, indicate the full type. For example: The Weston Hills, Sutton Lakes.

4.1.7.3. Abbreviations in names for captions on the map

4.1.7.3.1
Abbreviations can be used for words like north, south, east, and west, or other abbreviations depending on the language, if they are used in the direct meaning and are not part of the actual name.

If such words are not used in the direct meaning or are part of the proper name, they are not abbreviated. For example: Bolshaya Neva, South Dakota, or East Coast.

4.1.7.3.2

Names in geographical names that include a first, last, and middle name are replaced with initials. Write the initials before the last name.

For example: im. V.I. Lenin, imeni M.I. Kalinin.

Names in geographical names that include a first and last name are written out in full (rather than being replaced with initials).

For example: Donald Trump Plaza, The Winston Churchill School.

Exceptions are allowed if the abbreviations of the first name are included in official documents regarding the naming or renaming of that map item.

For example: im. E. Pugacheva.

4.1.7.4. Word order in the names of all types

4.1.7.4.1

Put the geographic term (that determines the item's category) after the proper name:

  • For example, Blagodat Mountain, Laptev Sea, Seliger Lake, Kamchatka Penninsula, Sadki Pond
  • This also applies to proper names made up of combinations of adjectives and nouns (for example, Novaya Sibir Island, Komsomolskaya Pravda Island, Kapskie Vorota Strait)
  • It also applies to combinations of numbers and nouns (for example, Pyat Bratyev Mountain, Peter the Great Mountain Range).
4.1.7.4.2

If a Russian name is a combination of a geographic term (item type) with an adjective, the position of the term is determined by the following rules:

4.1.7.4.2.1. Before the adjective
applies to the following geographical types:
  • boloto (marsh )— boloto Bolshoye, boloto Dolgoye, boloto Sergskoye;
  • buhta (bay) — buhta Kamenistaya, buhta Medvezhya, buhta Opasnaya;
  • gora (mountain) — Gora Vysokaya; Gora Kruglaya; Gora Magnitnaya;
  • lednik (glacier) — lednik Udachny, ledniki Kapchalskiye;
  • mys (cape) — mys Opasny, mys Olyutorsky;
  • ozero (lake) — ozero Shuchiye, ozero Senezhskoye, ozero Teletskoye;
  • ostrov (island) — ostrov Beliy, ostrov Zmeiniy, osrov Medniy;
  • pereval (pass) — Pereval Kodorskiy, Pereval Krestovy;
  • porog (rapids) — Porog Krivoy, Porogi Krovyaniye;
  • sopka (hill) — Sopka Beryozovaya, Sopka Galochya.

As an exception, these terms are placed after an adjective in traditional well-known names.

Examples: Ladozhskoye ozero, Onezhskoye ozero, Vasilyevsky ostrov, Sokolinaya gora, and others.

4.1.7.4.2.2. After an adjective
applies to the following geographical types:
  • arhipelag (archipelago) —Petuhovsky arhipelag;
  • bereg (beach) — Zimniy bereg, Kaninskiy bereg;
  • bolota (swamp) —Belyaevskiye bolota, Koltseviye bolota;
  • vodopad (waterfall) — Narvsky vodopad, Agurskiye vodopadi;
  • vodohranilishe (reservoir) — Veselovskoye vodohranilishe, Rybinskoye vodohranilishe;
  • vosvyshenost (mount) — Volyno-Podolskaya vozvyshenost;
  • vpadina (hollow) — Novozemelskaya vpadina;
  • gory (mountains) — Uralskiye gori;
  • gryada (ridge) — Belorusskay gryada;
  • dolina (valley) — Turgaiskaya dolina;
  • zapovednik (nature preserve) — Okskiy zapovednik;
  • kanal (canal, channel) —Tihvinskiy kanal;
  • kladbishe (cemetery) — Hovanskoye Severnoye kladbishe;
  • kosa (spit) — Berdyanskaya kosa;
  • kotlovina (basin) — Minusinskaya kotlovina;
  • kryazh (ridge) — Donetskiy kryazh;
  • morye (sea) — Beloye morye, Kaspiskoye morye;
  • nagorye (highlands) — Aldanskoye nagorye;
  • nizmennost, nizina (lowlands) — Mesherskaya nizina;
  • ozera (lakes) — Golubiye ozera;
  • ostrova (islands) — Golodniye ostrova;
  • peresheyek (isthmus) — Karelskiy peresheyek;
  • plato (plateau) — Ufimskoye plato;
  • ploskogorye (plateau) — Anadyrskoye ploskogorye;
  • proliv (strait) — Beringov proliv;
  • prud (pond) — Patriarshiye prudi;
  • ravnina (plains) —Beretskaya ravnina;
  • step (steppe) — Golodnaya step;
  • tundra (tundra) — Yamalskaya tundra;
  • hrebet (ridge) — Skalistiy hrebet;
4.1.7.4.2.3

Geographic terms not covered in 4.1.7.4.2.1 and 4.1.7.4.2.2 (bay, estuary, peninsula, etc.) are written after the adjective if it is a possessive adjective or has the suffix “sk” or “tsk” in Russian.

Examples: Kemskaya guba, Finskiy zaliv, Kolskiy poluostrov.

In all other cases, these terms are placed before the adjective.

Examples: zaliv Avariiniy, poluostrov Ozerniy.

There are exceptions for special cases, especially when the term is combined with a qualitative adjective (for example, ozera Gryazniye).

4.1.7.4.3

Names that merge Russian and foreign words or that merge the type of geographic item with the proper name (such as those that include boloto, gora, ozero, ostrov, reka, or ruchey) should be handled similarly to other geographic items: transliterate the proper name and translate the geographic type.

For example: Sebboloto Swamp, Shunboloto Swamp, Bugogora Mountain, Melgora Mountain, Yefimozero Lake, Lovozero Lake, Marostrov Island, Oncheostrov Island, Yelreka River, Kuzreka River, Pertruchey Stream.

If a local name consists of a geographic term and a full adjective, just follow the general rule and write the proper name and geographic type once (you don't need to repeat the latter): Olenye Lake, Sukhoe Lake, not Lake Olenye Lake or Lake Sukhoe Lake.

4.1.7.5. Inflected forms in the names of all types

Generally, you should put the proper name of geographic places in the nominative case followed by the place type (for example, Gorky Park, rather than Gorkogo Park).

For example: Dezhnev Cape, Yekaterina Strait, Elizabeth Cape, De Long Islands, Sergey Kirov Islands, Shokalsky Strait, Khariton Laptev Coast, Demyan Bedny Island, Komsomolskaya Pravda Islands, Henrietta Island.

There are exceptions to this rule though (i.e. where the proper name is transliterated in the genitive case, just as it is written in Russian). Look to verified sources to determine what form is most common in English translation. For example: Ryurik Strait, Chelyuskin Cape, Chkalov Island.