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Anonymous



I've downloaded the geonames database (allCountries.zip), and I've noticed that you use 'UK' as the country code for United Kingdom (cities like London have this country code). On the other hand, according to this (official?) list, the ISO country code for UK is 'GB'

http://www.iso.org/iso/en/prods-services/iso3166ma/02iso-3166-code-lists/list-en1.html

Is this an error in the Geonames database or there is another explanation?

Thank you very much for the service (I am working on a site where I plan to use Geonames).

Cheers,

xavi
marc



Joined: 08/12/2005 07:39:47
Messages: 4271
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Hi xavi

Both UK and GB are valid iso codes for the United Kingdom. I just don't know what is more common. The top level domain for example is UK.
Do you think GB is more common?

Marc

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Anonymous



Sorry, I didn't know they were both valid. I don't know which is more common, but in the the link I sent you in my previous message the code is GB, and in the the list reproduced in the Wikipedia entry for ISO 3166 is also GB, and there's a mention to the TLD, which is an exception because doesn't follow ISO
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ISO_3166-1_alpha-2

Actually, I didn't know, but it seems that there was a .gb domain at some time

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/.gb

Also, the ISO 4217 code for the currency in the United Kingdom is GBP, and these codes are built using the ISO 3166 country codes, followed usually by the initial of the currency itself (in this case, the Pound).
marc



Joined: 08/12/2005 07:39:47
Messages: 4271
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You are right 'GB' it the official code. But 'UK' it definitely more used.

The English wikipedia for example contains 33.648 times 'UK' but only 625 times 'GB'.

I was just about to change the code to 'GB' when some one suggest to change LI to FL as FL is more common.
http://forum.geonames.org/gforum/posts/list/60.page


Marc

[WWW]
Anonymous



Technically GB and UK are different places.

GB stands for Great Britain (e.g. England, Wales and Scotland), while UK means The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. So in official documents you'll nearly always see UK (for example in my passport and drivers licience) while alot of people still use GB as a synonym for UK. Also the plate on the back of cars from the UK is GB.

According to http://www.jhall.demon.co.uk/currency/ it was to do with Ukraine, which fits with what I believed too.

The use of "GB" for "The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland" surprises some people. However, the United Kingdom and the Ukraine both wanted "UK" so rather than start World War III over the matter, the United Kingdom was assigned "GB" and the Ukraine was assigned "UA."
marc



Joined: 08/12/2005 07:39:47
Messages: 4271
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I have to admit, this is rather confusing and I still don't know what the best way for geonames is.
If we change the country code from UK to GB, what are we doing with Northern Ireland? There are iso codes for The Isle of Man (IM), Guernsey (GG) and Jersey (JE), but I don't find a code for Northern Ireland. As I understand it, the iso code includes Northern Ireland, whereas the term 'Great Britain' does not.

There is a faq entry on the iso web site :
02: Why is the United Kingdom (of Great Britain and Northern Ireland) coded GB in ISO 3166-1?
A: The codes in ISO 3166-1 are - wherever possible - chosen to reflect the significant, unique component of the country name in order to allow a visual association between country name and country code. Since name components like Republic, Kingdom, United, Federal or Democratic are used very often in country names we usually do not derive the country code elements from them in order to avoid ambiguity. The name components United and Kingdom not being approrpiate for ISO 3166-1, the code GB for the United Kingdom was created from Great Britain. Incidentally, GB is also the United Kingdom's international road vehicle distinguishing sign - the code on the oval nationality stickers on cars.

source : http://www.iso.org/iso/en/prods-services/iso3166ma/10faq/frequently-asked-questions.html#QS02

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crewbaby



Joined: 15/06/2006 16:10:07
Messages: 7
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Anonymous is only partially right in saying they are different places.

In fact, one is a subset of the other: GB is a sub-set of the territory in the UK (same, less northern ireland).

So my recommendation would be to use UK for this reason- it's the name of the greatest size administrative domain for this country.

It also makes a difference that nobody ever searches for GB, notwithstanding the use of it in other areas.
marc



Joined: 08/12/2005 07:39:47
Messages: 4271
Offline

Hi Crewbaby

It really is a pitty the iso folks did not manage to use UK for the United Kingdom and had to pick GB. I hope Northern Ireland will get it's own iso code and then GB will make sense again.

I forgot to update this forum thread. We recently discussed this topic on the geonames mailing list and decided to use GB after all.

Please feel free to join the thread :

http://groups.google.com/group/geonames/browse_frm/thread/4e348e74a0088646/#


Marc

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