Founding

In September 1967, the United Nations convened its first conference on the standardization of geographical names in Geneva, in which Josef Breu took part as Austria’s representative on the proposal of the Austrian Academy of Sciences. National name standardisation, which was to form the basis for international name standardisation, played a major role in the negotiations. The result of the conference were resolutions which, as confirmed by the Economic and Social Council, took on the character of recommendations from the United Nations to its member states. Apart from recommendations on the collection and evaluation of names and on the careful treatment of minority languages, the Conference recommended the creation of state and regional name authorities to organise, manage and monitor the work required for the above purposes.

In a letter of 15 December 1967 to the Federal Ministry of Education, the Austrian Academy of Sciences strongly supported the recommendations of the Geneva Conference for Austria. This led to the first “Meeting on the Standardization of Geographical Names of Austria” on June 6, 1968, in which representatives of the federal agencies dealing with geographical names and the relevant institutes of the Austrian Academy of Sciences took part. Although due to Austria’s federal structure and the legal situation it did not seem possible to create a central naming authority, it was nevertheless recognized the necessity to establish a body which could assume an advisory and recommending function for the entire state. It was agreed that it would be best to make use of the existing framework of the Austrian Cartographic Commission in the Austrian Geographical Society. With the approval of the Geographical Society, the Cartographic Naming Department (AKO) was established, which was able to hold its constituent meeting on January 6, 1969.

Since autumn 1994 the AKO “In conjunction with the Austrian Academy of Sciences” has changed its name to Arbeitsgemeinschaft für Kartographische Ortsnamenkunde.