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Overview An explanation of the Harvest Information System: Registry of Geography

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The function of the Registry of Geography (ROG) is to document a set of standardized codes used for identifying geopolitical areas. The present code covers three levels of political geography:

  • World (Level 0)
  • Countries and Areas of Special Sovereignty (Level 1)
  • First-level administrative divisions within countries (Level 2)

Codes at Levels 1 and 2 are an extension of the codes used by the United States National Imagery and Mapping Agency (NIMA) and generally referred to as Federal Information Processing Standard (FIPS) 10-4 and subsequent changes. The base code set used here is obtained by direct download fron NIMA and contains codes which have not yet been published in the formal FIPS 10-4 standard.


The registry includes cross-references to other coding and naming systems, including the ISO 3166 standard for country names. The registry is designed to be extensible to lower levels of politcal subdivisions within countries and to accomodate intermediate levels of political subdivisions.


The registry contains a code table, two supplementary tables, and a change history table:

  • ROG_Political: Code for Geopolitical Regions
    A code in this represents a specific, politically-defined land area. This is an important distinction: many other codes, including the commonly used ISO codes used in the Internet domain naming system, are codes for names of political regions. In such codes, major changes in the land area of a political unit may not be reflected by a code change, while a change in only the name of a region may artificially produce code change. In recent history, such changes have resulted in the same code referring, over time, to both the former West Germany and the present, unified Germany, (a much larger entity), or, in other case, to both the former Yugoslavia and current remainder state of Serbia and Montenegro (a much smaller entity). The HIS code, and its underlying NIMA/FIPS code, intend to change codes if, and only if, there are substantive changes in the land area represented by the code.
  • ROG_PoliticalXref: Cross Reference to Alternate Names and Codes
    Provides an cross reference to alternate names and codes for geopolitical areas. The cross-reference provides means for describing less than exact correspondence between different coding systems.
  • ROG Sources: Code and Name Sources
    Indentifies underlying sources for code and cross-reference information.
  • ROG_Political Change History
    Documents the history of changes to the code set for geopolitcal regions.

The tables relate to each other as indicated the following diagram:

Registry of Geography table


It is anticipated that other HIS registries will use these codes preferentially in discribing the geographic locations of the entities they describe.