Re: Address of ISO 3166 mailing list

From: Marion Gunn (
Date: Tue Jun 03 2003 - 13:05:19 EDT

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    Scríobh Philippe Verdy <>:
    > ...
    > Shamely, the official ISO3166-1 code for United Kingdom is GB, not UK
    > which is just a IANA assignment, both of which include Northern Ireland,
    > and also other UK dependancies (but only in ISO3166-1, because IANA
    > defines separate codes for dependancies and overseas areas having a
    > local form of governance with semi-autonomous status within the United
    > Kingdom, exactly the same way it occurs for dependancies of France, USA,
    > China, Chile, Peru).

    Yes. It is because such things are so complex that I would recommend
    that anything touching on such registrations be handled by consensus
    between BSI and NSAI (not left to other means).

    > ISO3166-1 has its known problems (even if it's still better than FIPS
    > which forgets to encode many areas, or that uses codes specific to a US
    > government usage, and does not match any code used in the referenced
    > country), ISO3166-2 is even worse (many errors and omissions, but still
    > much less than FIPS which is very incoherent!)

    Is there an public access website for decoding USA FIPS tags to national

    > There's no clear solution for you, so if you need to use a code in a
    > delimited context (such as baggage registration in airports), the best
    > way is to use a code that matches the uses in the air sector (for
    > example the international codes for airports, which is an abreviation of
    > the city name or the name of one of the airports for that city, such as
    > JFK for New York).

    Most of us know many city codes by heart, but they do not meet the case.

    > ...
    > (forget =
    > the definitions of ISO 3166-2, which is too much incomplete, unstable,
    > unmaintained, still lacks a policy...

    It is the responsibility of the Registration Authority to fix all that.

    > You won't find these codes in ISO3166. You need to find reference from
    > the international air regulation authorities.

    Every plane, every boat, every car, has a country-of-origin
    registration, I think, but it is not easy to come by tables
    cross-matching them all (IE-EI-IRL I know, but not the delimiters
    between their areas of application).

    > Alternatively, you could use the United Nation numeric codes used for
    > statistics reports, and that are very well maintained (needed because
    > accurate statistics are the common base for international negociations
    > and diplomacy, and these take into account common area divisions or
    > groupings such as Northern Ireland, or European Union, or OECD
    > countries, or members or parties to international alliances or treaties
    > such as NATO)...

    To which I would add football and other sporting organizations. Does the
    list never end?:-)

    > If you need samples of these UN 3-digit codes, look at the many
    > statistics and reports published on the UN web site. Some reports
    > require paying a small fee to contribute to UN activities. The UN
    > reference list can be ordered (look on the website for details).
    > -- Philippe.
    The need for a concentrated effort on registering/reserving codes for
    Ireland and cross-matching them is one area I wish to see NSAI
    concentrating on at the moment, as a matter of urgency. That may seem
    selfish, but it is necessary to look out for one's own countries in all
    of these matters, or others may determine them (sans guarantee of
    satisfaction in any quarter).

    Marion Gunn * EGT (Estab.1991) * *
    fiosruithe/enquiries: * *

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