Hierarchical administrative subdivision codes
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They are described in the book Administrative Subdivisions of Countries: A Comprehensive World Reference, 1900 Through 1998, written by Gwillim Law.
The codes are alphabetic and have constant length for the first level subdivisions. Examples:
DE - Germany DE.NW - North Rhine-Westphalia DE.NW.CE - Kreis Coesfeld
- Gwillim Law. Administrative Subdivisions of Countries: A Comprehensive World Reference, 1900 Through 1998. ISBN 0-7864-0729-8.
- Hierarchical administrative subdivision codes at statoids.com
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