Gazetteers are great for learning about area history, they can be used for genealogy research and as a way to prepare for a vacation or travel plans. This is a brief survey of some of the web based gazetteers.
The Columbia Gazetteer on Bartleby is a good place to start. You can search for information on Canada, United States, Mexico and the Carribean by typing the name of the location.
You can also select from an alphabetical index. This is a year 2000 version of the directory.
It is not to be confused with the subscription services at Columbia Gazetteer Online. This version, published by Columbia University Press, is a complete encyclopedia of geographic locations.
The most bare bones version of an online gazetteer is located at the U.S. Census Bureau Gazetteer.
You can type in the name or the zip code of your location. You will then view results from the 1990 Census about your area.
At World Gazetteer you can find information on almost every country on the planet. The website gives information on population figures, the original name if available in the original language, latitude and longitude.
At this site you can also get the current world population, pictures of national flags, and a variety of statistical information. World Gazetteer data can be displayed in English, Spanish, French and German.
The USGS Planetary Nomenclature is a listing of planet names and their astro-locations. Click a planet, find the region or area and you with see statistical information. You can also download images and topographical maps of the planets as well as links to interactive maps and photography.