Talk:ISO 3166-2

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Download of data[edit]

I'm not sure if this is an appropriate place to ask, but I don't know where else, sorry: is there a way to get the data (two-char abbreviations + country names) downloaded in machine-readable format? It used to be possible through iso, but they have evodently disabled direct download. All the other places I can find for download are not kept up to date, e.g., "Cape Verde" vs. "Cabo Verde". Wikipedia's list itself is up to date, but is there a way besides manually munging the text on the page, to get it?

Of course this would be nice for many other lists besides iso 3166-2, but that's the one I most need, so asking here. Thanks. karl (talk) 13:27, 12 May 2016 (UTC)


I just asked the Central Intelligence Agency of the United States if it is copyright-okay for them to add ISO 3166-2 codes in the CIA World Factbook. My message sent to said:

"As The World Factbook in the public domain contains ISO 3166-1 and ISO 4217 codes from the international standards copyrighted by the International Organization for Standardization, I would like to ask if it is copyright-okay for you to add ISO 3166-2 codes for administrative divisions, possibly cross-referenced with place codes from FIPS PUB 10-4. i think it is I am asking it because I wonder if code elements from ISO 3166-1, ISO 3166-2, and ISO 4217 alone can be copyrighted."

Limited staff in the CIA may delay a reply, so please do not ask the same there. I hope that a reply will arrive. Stay tuned.

... Jusjih 07:06 27 Apr 2004 (UTC)

I have the same feeling with regard to the legitimacy to post ISO 3166-2 codes in bulk. Many codes are based on National Standards, but I don't know their exact status of copyright. As I have found, says that it reproduces ISO 3166-2 codes with permission. I don't know how its editor got that and if we should also do the same. I hope that someone can answer well. ... Jusjih 09:12 8 Sep 2003 (UTC)

ISO 3166-2 codes have to be removed.

see: Talk:International_Organization_for_Standardization

exceptions maybe: codes that are widely used in the countries and are free of copyright. e.g. state codes in USA are free (?)... Tobias Conradi 22:02 3 Jun 2003 (UTC)

Can somebody clarify what the copyright means? Is one merely not allowed to publish copied or altered documentation of the codes, or is one not even allowed to use the codes themselves, for example, as abbreviations on your company's website's URIs? I find it hard to believe an entity can come up with a few letters and numbers and then claim copyright over it. It's as silly as giving somebody a copyright on colours or on sentences. Are there any implications for WP's using the codes? Wikipeditor 13:09, 18 October 2006 (UTC)

Well, they may claim copyright on their *documents*, but I don't see how the codes themselves are eligible for copyright protection. My understandiing is that codes and other short phrases are generally not considered "ideas", and even if they were, they would run into the Merger Doctrine, since the codes are the only way to express the underlying ideas (i.e., the codes themselves). No?

I don't understand the "one-letter" thing. Can't do much with one letter, huh? And there are no one-letter names in this list?

1 letter
1 and 2 letter
e.g. SE-BD Norrbottens län, SE-C Uppsala län
1 letter for regions, 2 letter for capital
1 letter for capital, 2 letter for departments

jaknouse 02:55 May 6, 2003 (UTC)

1 letter means that subdivisions have one letter. I looked in ISO and at Unece to find the subdivisions. User:Tobias Conradi

Moved from User talk:Tim Starling[edit]

Out of curiosity, why are you removing all those ISO posts? Kingturtle 06:21 May 6, 2003 (UTC)

Because they're ugly. They make me want to throw up. Save them for some obscure list where I don't have to look at them.-- Tim Starling 06:24 May 6, 2003 (UTC)
And the NSW in New South Wales (NSW) is nice? Are You the master of the world that we have to care whether YOU find them ugly? Maybe we can put them to another place. Table is not very usefull.
Yes, NSW is nice. No, I'm not the master of the world, I'm the master of my edit button. My sense of style is just as important as anyone else's, but I intend to boldly revert ugly additions, especially ones made to Australia-related pages. And please log on to protect your anonymity, Deutsche Telekom user. -- Tim
I agree. Please do not delete them. Just find a better place for them. Kingturtle 06:32 May 6, 2003 (UTC)
I didn't delete them. They're still on the web if you want to find them. We can find a better place for them, but not in the intro paragraph of an article like New South Wales or, even worse, Hidalgo. -- Tim Starling 06:37 May 6, 2003 (UTC)
The stubs definitely have to go. Kingturtle 06:39 May 6, 2003 (UTC)
I agree. But that the Australian codes are now on a page that is called list of capitals of subnational entities, is not a good solution. I don't know where to put lists, but nevertheles if a page for a entity exist, it should contain the ISO 3166-2 code, like it is on country pages with the TLDs/ISO 3166-1 codes.

I'm listing the stubs on VFD. It will take a few more minutes to find them all... -- Tim Starling 06:51 May 6, 2003 (UTC)

it were only mexican. i would like to help, i found: Mexican Federal District, Durango_State,Sinaloa, Nuevo Leon,Mexico_State,Hidalgo,Tamaulipas
Thanks, but I already found them. See Wikipedia:Votes for deletion. Let's continue this discussion on Talk:ISO 3166-2.

I don't know where you want to put the ISO 3166-2 codes for subnational entities without a summary table. You could create tables for those states and add the code -- that would probably be the best solution. Or you could create a set of pages listing the codes for all states—almanac-style. Use your imagination. By the way, I'm not the boss of Wikipedia. You wouldn't be breaking the rules as such by simply adding all the codes back in, the way you originally put them. An edit war would probably result, and we'd probably reach a compromise. Don't be intimidated -- you have as much right to your opinion as I do. -- Tim Starling 07:31 May 6, 2003 (UTC)

On pages for German, Canadian or US States there are tables were it is easy to put the code in the page. I.e. at Bavaria one can find the code for Bavaria, like on Australian Dollar one can find the ISO 4217 currency code AUD. Why not finding the ISO subdivision code on a page for New South Wales?
The Australian states don't have tables because we haven't got around to doing it yet. You can do it if you want. The key difference between Australian dollar and New South Wales is that currency codes are more important than ISO 3166-2 codes. I have never seen the ISO 3166-2 codes for Australian states before now, but I have seen "Australian dollar" abbreviated to AUD many times. ISO 3166-2 codes are far less important than the postal abbreviations NSW, VIC, ACT, etc. This is why I can't accept putting the ISO 3166-2 codes in the first paragraph, because only the most important facts go there. As a compromise, I might accept having the ISO codes at the end of the article. However, I would prefer to see the ISO codes hidden by putting them in a table or list of other data. -- Tim Starling 09:33 May 6, 2003 (UTC)
I see Your point. One advantage of having it directly in each state page, is that one can have a look what links to ISO 3166-2 and find all ISO 3166-2 related pages. Thanks for offering the compromise. Good that I added the info, wasn't it? Now You learnt that ISO 3166-2 for your country exists ;-). Well, the first place in the first paragraph was not right. Will You add the information? Maybe it is better if You do it. -- Tobias Conradi 15:18 May 6, 2003 (UTC)
Yes, I'll add it. You've inspired me to make some US-style tables for the Australian states. I should have them finished within a day or two. -- Tim Starling 23:46 May 6, 2003 (UTC)

According to ``International standard ISO 3166-2 was published on December 15, 1998. It superseded ISO/DIS 3166-2 (draft international standard). For Mexico, the draft standard showed 31 states and one federal district. The final standard shows the same divisions and the same codes, except for the federal district. The code for Distrito Federal has been changed from D.F to DIF.

I have revised this page accordingly. 06:33 May 7, 2003 (UTC)

Log on to protect your privacy, IDA employee! -- Tim Starling 08:10 May 7, 2003 (UTC)

Regarding the ISO 3166-2 codes for xyz pages, can we agree on putting references to ISO, ISO 3166-1, ISO 3166-2, and the country in the top? Then surfers can easiliy go where they want to. Like it is done on ISO 3166-2 codes for Japan page.Tobias Conradi 06:49 May 7, 2003 (UTC)

Be bold in updating pages. It's fine by me but you don't need my permission, or anyone else's. Just do it and see if anyone complains.
It was ment a little as suggestion. ;-) So to save time, if You are already on it, I do not have to go through later. But well, maybe this does not matter much. Tobias Conradi 07:17 May 7, 2003 (UTC)
Maybe the IDA guy will do it for us. :) -- Tim Starling 08:10 May 7, 2003 (UTC)
Can we please have a listing of all the ISO 3166-2 codes for xxx pages somewhere? I see they are already linked from ISO 3166-2, but it's currently a bit hard to find the subpage if you don't already know the ISO 3166-1 code. Another possible issue: I think we need to reformat the code listings somewhat. They look too much like they were copied straight from LOCODE -- there may be copyright issues. -- Tim Starling 07:08 May 7, 2003 (UTC)
You are absolutly right, it is hard to find the subpages. I will think about a solution. Tobias Conradi 07:17 May 7, 2003 (UTC)

ISO 3166-2 interface to subdivision information at[edit]

I created redirects to the countries of the form ISO 3166-1:XX to enable outsiders to link via an easy interface to country infos at Is it a good idea to do this also for subdivsions, in the form ISO 3166-2:CH-ZH (for Canton Zürich)? ISO 3166-2:CH will still provide a list of codes.

I dont know whether the redirects are a good idea, because this could end up with really a lot of them and the 3166-2 codes may change faster than 3166-1. Maybe a database supported solution would be better. Any suggestions? Maybe we should just go for it... Tobias Conradi 00:33 May 9, 2003 (UTC)

I think the redirects you just created were named ISO 3166-2:XX rather than ISO 3166-1:XX. Creating redirects such as ISO 3166-2:CH-ZHZürich wouldn't hurt, but like you say there's a lot of them. Do you know how many there are, exactly? Are we talking thousands? For large-scale, automated database entry you could try to convince someone to write a client-side bot or a server-side script. -- Tim Starling 02:46 May 9, 2003 (UTC)
ISO 3166-1:AUAustralia; ISO 3166-2:AUISO 3166-2 codes for Australia; ISO 3166-2:AU-NS maybe → New South Wales
Yes, I think we talk about thousands. client-side bot will do what I can do with hands. But what You mean with server-side script? Will it have the same result (insertion of redirects that can be edited)? Or should we ask for something special. Like the 'Talk' in is something special. But this links should also work in the offline (CD/DVD) versions, so we maybe need normal redirects. Tobias Conradi 03:44 May 9, 2003 (UTC)
I meant that the server-side script should just make normal redirects. The advantage of doing it that way is that it puts far less stress on the server, and the changes can be hidden from Special:Recentchanges. -- Tim Starling 00:02 4 Jun 2003 (UTC)

List of other nations[edit]

Shouldn't there a row for nations (and maybe other bodies) that have an ISO 3166-1 code, but not a known set of ISO 3166-2 codes? --Paploo (talk) 02:46, 20 November 2008 (UTC) (i.e., Saint Lucia, Vatican City, São Tomé and Príncipe, etc.) --Paploo (talk) 03:38, 20 November 2008 (UTC)

Definition of country subdivision[edit]

The ISO publication probably provides a definition of "country subdivision". It seems to me the definition would be along the lines of "political division of a country subordinate only to the central government". All the country subdivisions I see in the chart are subordinate only to the central government. The second-last sentence in the introduction reads: "For some countries, codes are defined for more than one level of subdivision." I question the accuracy of the statement. I think clarification is needed. - The Aviv (talk) 01:41, 8 September 2011 (UTC)

Please take a look at some of the entries where there are more than one level of subdivisions, e.g., ISO 3166-2:BE, ISO 3166-2:ES, ISO 3166-2:FR, ISO 3166-2:GB, ISO 3166-2:ID, ISO 3166-2:NZ, etc. Chanheigeorge (talk) 01:52, 8 September 2011 (UTC)

Redirects from subnational pages[edit]

Current practice appears to be to redirect subnational codes, like ISO 3166-2:CA-NS to the national code page, e.g. ISO 3166-2:CA. As I couldn't find this explicitly stated anywhere, I thought I'd mention it here. (talk) 19:01, 8 January 2014 (UTC)

Special:PrefixIndex/ISO 3166-2: shows many such redirects exist, though certainly not for all countries' subdivisions. I remember the ISO codes for the Argentine provinces, without the "ISO 3166-2:" prefix, being redirected to the main article about each province (for example AR-U redirects to Chubut Province). This appears to have been done for several other countries too, such as Brazil and Russia. SiBr4 ("CyberFour") (talk) 19:50, 8 January 2014 (UTC)
Yeah, it looks like the current practice is to redirect the ones with the ISO prefix to the national page, and the ones without the prefix to the main article. And in neither case is there a general habit of creating them -- it's done sporadically, as users feel motivated. I'd lean towards requesting a bot redirect all of them (both with and without the prefix) to the matching main article, but I don't feel like pushing that forward right now. (talk) 00:05, 9 January 2014 (UTC)