Re: [OT] country codes

From: Christopher Vance (
Date: Tue Nov 28 2000 - 07:45:00 EST

On Mon, Nov 27, 2000 at 10:34:24PM -0800, Doug Ewell wrote:
: Peter Constable <> wrote:
: > Can anybody tell me what relationship, if any, there is between ISO
: > 3166 and FIPS PUB 10-4 (
: > I get the impression that they are different. The document at the
: > link cites FIPS PUB 104-1 in conjunction with ISO 3166, but I can't
: > find that document at the FIPS site.

I remember using something in the FIPS 10/104 family back in 1984.
I can't remember which one it was, but I think it already included
subdivisions. Published by some part of the US government.

I wasn't aware of any ISO standards at the time, and don't know when
ISO 3166 was first published.

Since then both FIPS 10 and ISO 3166 have been updated, mostly
independently, although some of the newer codes are identical.

More recently, ISO has published ISO 3166-2, listing subdivisions.
This used FIPS 104 as one of its sources.

: I can't find any relationship at all, other than the intent and scope
: of coverage. The codes are not the same (e.g. Algeria is AG in FIPS
: but DZ in ISO), and for several countries FIPS lists fewer subdivisions
: than ISO.

Subdivisions keep changing all the time. I don't know how often
Brazil gets new states. Belgium got restructured, I think. You know
how governments like to change things for change sake. And when they
do some things get split, some get merged, and frequently boundaries
between the same pair of subdivisions just move.

Christopher Vance

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