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ISO 3166 Country Codes
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The International Standardisation Organisation (www.iso.ch) has introduced a coding system which assigns each country one of three types of codes:
 
• a two-character code (for example, CA for Canada) known as ISO-3166-Alpha-2;
 
• a three-character code (for example, CAN for Canada) known as ISO-3166-Alpha-3; and
 
• a three-digit code (for example, 124 for Canada) known as "ISO-3166 numerical code".
 
The Maintenance Agency for ISO 3166 is the German Standardisation Organisation (Deutsches Institut für Normung; DIN). However, the numeric codes are looked after by the United Nations Statistics Division.
 
For more information, the NISO maintains a useful overview and list of frequently asked questions. A full list of ISO-3166-Alpha-3 and numrical codes is available from the United Nations Statistics Division web site.
 
Recently, the ISO-3166 has been developed further to provide codes for geographic subdivisions of countries. These codes are known as ISO-3166-2, while the original country codes are refered to as ISO-3166-1. Furthermore, ISO-3166-3 is a list of country codes that are no longer in use (for example, countries that have split up such as Czechoslovakia, or countries that have merged such as East Germany and West Germany). Please refer to the Wikepedia entry on ISO-3166 for further information.
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  © 2011 by Werner Antweiler, University of British Columbia. All rights reserved.
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