Country codes are short alphabetic or numeric codes developed to represent countries and dependent areas, for use in data processing and communications. Several different systems have been developed to do this.
- The most famous of these is ISO 3166-1.
- This standard defines for most of the countries and dependent areas in the world:
- The two-letter codes are used as the basis for:
- The International Olympic Committee (IOC) three letter codes used in sporting events: list of IOC country codes,
- The coding system for car licenses plates under the 1949 and 1968 United Nations Road Traffic Conventions (distinguishing signs of vehicles in international traffic),
- The Federal Information Processing Standard (FIPS) two letter codes used by the US government and in the CIA World Factbook: list of FIPS country codes
- The coding system for diplomatic license plates in the United States, assigned by the U.S. State Department.
- From the International Telecommunication Union (ITU):
- The Nomenclature des unitÚs territoriales statistiques (Nomenclature of territorial units for statistics, NUTS) of the European Union, mostly focusing on subdivisions of the EU member states
- From the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO):
- aircraft registration prefixes,
- nationality letters for location indicators.
- The initial digits of International Standard Book Numbers (ISBN) are group identifiers for countries, areas, or language regions.
- The first three digits of EAN-UCC article numbers, e.g. in barcodes, designate (national) numbering agencies.
Data codes for Switzerland presents a sample set for a country.
- Comparison of various systems: http://www.unc.edu/~rowlett/units/codes/country.htm