A joint venture involving the National Atlas programs in Canada (Natural Resources Canada), Mexico (Instituto Nacional de Estadística Geografía e Informática), and the United States (U.S. Geological Survey), as well as the North American Commission for Environmental Co-operation, has led to the release (June 2004) of several new products: an updated paper map of North America, and its associated geospatial data sets and their metadata. These data sets are available online from each of the partner countries both for visualization and download. The North American Atlas data are standardized geospatial data sets at 1:10,000,000 scale. A variety of basic data layers (e.g. roads, railroads, populated places, political boundaries, hydrography, bathymetry, sea ice and glaciers) have been integrated so that their relative positions are correct. This collection of data sets forms a base with which other North American thematic data may be integrated. Any data outside of Canada, Mexico, and the United States of America included in the North American Atlas data sets is strictly to complete the context of the data. The North American Atlas - Populated Places data set shows a selection of named populated places suitable for use at a scale of 1:10,000,000. Places, which refer to individual municipalities, are always shown using point symbols. These symbols have been fitted to the North American Atlas roads, railroads, and hydrography layers, so that the points represent the approximate locations of places relative to data in these other layers. The selection of populated places was based on local importance (as shown by population size), importance as a cross-border point, and, occasionally, on other factors. All capital cities (national, provincial, territorial or State) are shown for Canada, Mexico, and the United States of America. Attributes were added to the data to reflect population class, name, and capital. Cartographic considerations were taken into account so that names do not overlap in crowded areas, nor are there too many names shown for sparsely-populated areas. This layer is part of the 1997-2014 edition of the National Atlas of the United States.The North American Atlas data are intended for geographic display and analysis at the national and continental level. These data should be displayed and analyzed at scales appropriate for 1:10,000,000-scale data. No responsibility is assumed by Natural Resources Canada, Instituto Nacional de Estadística Geografía e Informática, or the U.S. Geological Survey in the use of these data.