More about Pronounce Wisconsin


The project began as an effort by the Wisconsin State Cartographer's Office (SCO) to compile an authoritative map of unincorporated places in Wisconsin. Several organizations and agencies have previously attempted to assemble lists of unincorporated places, but because of the inherently ambiguous nature of these places, there was no consensus as to how many of them existed. Students and staff at the SCO compared available data sources - including datasets and maps from federal, state and local sources - and corrected locations using aerial photography. The current dataset contains 1051 unincorporated places, all of which are shown in this application


This project is also an effort to produce the first (to our knowledge) online pronouncing gazetteer of Wisconsin. To do this, the SCO collaborated with Jackie Johnson - creator of - to develop this application as a way of spatially exploring the unique pronunciations of unincorporated places in Wisconsin. Counties, cities and villages were added for geographical reference and to enrich the functionality of the application.


Unincorporated places were assembled by cross referencing lists and maps from the US Geological Survey's Geographic Names Information System (GNIS), the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WI-DOT), the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS), and maps maintained by individual counties. Unincorporated place locations were corrected using US Department of Agriculture NAIP imagery. City and village boundaries were derived from US Census Bureau data. These boundaries have been simplified for display and should not be used as official borders.

What is an unincorporated place?

An unincorporated place is a concentration of people that is geographically not part of an incorporated city or village. An unincorporated place has neither a legal boundary nor a government. It is not recognized as a political unit, and does not have the powers that cities and villages do to tax, zone, or create local ordinances. Nevertheless, unincorporated places are real. They may appear on maps or on letters delivered by the Postal Service. They exist in the shared geographical knowledge of their inhabitants.

Unincorporated places are transitory features of the landscape, easily forgotten when populations dwindle, land use change occurs, or the area is annexed by a municipality. With few exceptions, unincorporated places are not tracked by the US Census Bureau or other agencies. The SCO's interest in unincorporated places is to preserve information about these places as a resource for citizens of the state.

Student Credits:

John Czaplewski - Data development, application design, and programming
Scott Moucka, Erik Myers, Kim Ness - Data development