ISO 19912:2003 defines the conceptual schema for spatial references based on geographic identifiers. It establishes a general model for spatial referencing using geographic identifiers, defines the components of a spatial reference system and defines the essential components of a gazetteer. Spatial referencing by coordinates is not addressed in this document; however, a mechanism for recording complementary coordinate references is included.
ISO 19912:2003 assists users in understanding the spatial references used in datasets. It enables gazetteers to be constructed in a consistent manner and supports the development of other standards in the field of geographic information. It is applicable to digital geographic data, and its principles may be extended to other forms of geographic data such as maps, charts and textual documents.