Columbia Gazetteer of the World
This 3-volume set is edited by Saul D. Cohen. Published in New York by Columbia UP, in 1998. www.amazon.com listed it for $780.
A typical question that would lead to using this book is “Where is Kathmandu? What are the Ural Mountains noted for?”
Format: 3 volume print. It is also available as online database. A related title is The Columbia Gazetteer of North America (supposedly free online at http://www.bartleby.com).
The Columbia Gazetteer of the World is a comprehensive gazetteer and is therefore not only a geographical index or dictionary, it is an encyclopedia of geographical places and their features. This book has 165,000 geographic names, which include both current and historical names. The entries include spelling, location, pronunciation, and other useful information. This book is an encyclopedic source for demography, physical geography, political boundaries; it includes industry, trade, service activities, agriculture, cultural, historical, archeological points of interest, transportation lines, longitude & latitude, elevation, and distance from relevant places. There are even entries for theme parks, nuclear plants, military bases, shopping malls, and surprisingly mythic places.
The intended audience is students, travelers, business people, the press, and of course researchers. It is alphabetized, has no maps and no appendixes.