The United States Board on Geographic Names was created in 1890 to standardize the use of geographic names on federal maps and documents, and was established in its present form in 1947 by public law. The Board is responsible for geographic name usage and application throughout the federal government and its members must approve a name change or new name before it can be applied to federal maps and publications. To accomplish its mission, the Board has developed principles, policies, and procedures for use in the standardization process. The Board is also responsible legally for the promulgation of standardized names, whether or not these names have ever been controversial, and today this is accomplished by the universal availability of electronic databases for domestic and foreign names. This paper examines the development of Board policies and the implementation of these policies to achieve standardization with a view to relating these policies and activities to questions of standardization or regulation. ?? 2000 by The American Name Society.