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agency bullet BGN Advisory Committee on Undersea Features (ACUF)

The BGN Advisory Committee on Undersea Features (ACUF) was established in its present form in 1963 to recommend standardization policy for names of undersea features and to recommend official standard names based on proposals submitted by authorities in the field or usage on hydrographic and bathymetric charts.

ACUF members come from various federal agencies and are experts in the fields of bathymetry and/or geomorphology. The members are appointed by the Secretary of the Interior on the recommendation of the BGN. The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) provides the secretariat for the committee.

There are approximately 5,031 undersea features currently available via the GEOnet Names Server (GNS). There are a total of approximately 10,196 names including variant (cross-reference) names. The BGN approves undersea feature names are based on the recommendation of ACUF. ACUF is charged with recommending BGN policy for totally-submerged undersea features which lie outside the territorial sea (as recognized by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea) of all coastal states. Undersea features within the territorial sea of the United States are handled by the BGN Domestic Names Committee (DNC) in coordination with ACUF.

Information for submitting name proposals

ACUF welcomes proposals for new undersea feature names. Excel worksheet and portable document format (.pdf) versions of the proposal form are available. For questions on policy conformance and the list of acceptable generic terms, please consult the Policies and Guidelines for the Standardization of Undersea Feature Names(July 2005). Proposals may be mailed to the address on the proposal form or emailed to

ACUF Statement on Commemorative Naming of Undersea Features


Undersea Features History (~2005)

ACUF: A Memoir

Written by RADM Harley Nygren, NOAA Corps (ret.). RADM Nygren was a founding ACUF Member (1963-1966)

Bathymetric Glossary (July 1970)

“A Glossary of World Bathymetric Terms and Their English Language Equivalents” ACUF Member Norman Cherkis, retired from the Naval Research Laboratory, published this document in 1970 as NRL Report 7094. The report is an invaluable compilation of common undersea generic terms from fourteen languages. The report has been scanned and is available in .pdf format.

An Expanded Glossary of World Bathymetric Terms (September 2009)

Now that the Geographic Names Database can store non-Roman script data, a project was undertaken to compile a bathymetric glossary wtih non-Roman script forms, where available. This glossary is a work in progress.

Further information about the ACUF and its activities may be obtained from:

ACUF Secretary

Commercial: (571) 557-5959
DSN: 547-5959

last modified December 02, 2020

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