Non-spatial geographic attribute data. Data from these sources can be joined to vector features using a common unique identifier so they can be visualized and analyzed in GIS. Two examples:
Gazetteers are directories of geographic features and place names. Attributes include XY coordinates (usually longitude and latitude) that allows features to be plotted.
Geocoding is the process of taking address data and processing it to obtain XY coordinates, usually longitude and latitude. With coordinates you can plot the data as a point-based vector file. Geocoding can be performed within GIS software or through separate web services.