Geopolitical Entities, Names, and Codes

Geopolitical Entities, Names, and Codes

Chief Information Officer

IC Technical Specifications

Geopolitical Entities, Names, and Codes


This CVE Encoding Specification for Geopolitical Entities, Names, and Codes (IC-GENC.CES) defines detailed implementation guidance using several encoding formats including XML, CSV and JSON to encode IC-GENC.CES controlled vocabulary. This CES defines the XML elements and attributes, associated structures and relationships, mandatory and cardinality requirements, and permissible values for representing IC-GENC data concepts using a variety of formats.


This specification supports ISO-3166-1 (which replaced FIPS 10-4), moving from a two-character country code base to a three-character code. This profile is considered to be the authoritative set of country codes and names for use by the Federal Government for information exchange. Although GENC will use ISO-3166 code elements whenever possible, they may be modified where necessary to comply with U.S. law and U.S. government recognition policy.


This specification provides a subset of the permissible GENC codespaces and code values that are used in the IC. Specifically, this specification only utilizes the short Uniform Resource Number (URN) based codespaces with the three-character codes.


Compliance with this specification is measured against all aspects of the technical and documentary artifacts contained within the specification release package.


The IC Chief Information Officer maintains this specification via the Data Coordination Activity (DCA) and Common Metadata Standards Tiger Team (CMSTT).


Technical Specification Downloads


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Mission Requirements

Many IC encoding specifications use Controlled Vocabulary Enumerations (CVEs) to define allowable values for various elements and attributes. However, over time several encoding specifications became dependent on the same list of values and dual (or more) maintenance was required to keep the lists aligned. Changes to a specification's CVEs also caused an entire version of that specification to be created.


To prevent these two situations from occurring, a new type of encoding specification, the CVE Encoding Specification (CES), was created to decouple the vocabulary from the specifications. Each CES contains one or more CVEs and optionally a master schema defining.