A gazetteer is a geographical dictionary or directory used in conjunction with a map or atlas. It typically contains information concerning the geographical makeup, social statistics and physical features of a country, region, or continent. Content of a gazetteer can include a subject's location, dimensions of peaks and waterways, population, gross domestic product and literacy rate. This information is generally divided into topics with entries listed in alphabetical order.
Ancient Greek gazetteers are known to have existed since the Hellenistic era. The first known Chinese gazetteer was released by the first century, and with the age of print media in China by the ninth century, the Chinese gentry became invested in producing gazetteers for their local areas as a source of information as well as local pride. The geographer Stephanus of Byzantium wrote a geographical dictionary (which currently has missing parts) in the sixth century which influenced later European compilers. Modern gazetteers can be found in reference sections of most libraries as well as on the internet.