Federal Information Processing Standard

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Federal Information Processing Standards (FIPS) are publicly announced standards developed by the United States federal government for use in computer systems[1] by all non-military government agencies and by government contractors. Many FIPS standards are modified versions of standards used in the wider community (ANSI, IEEE, ISO, etc.).


Standard publications

Some FIPS standards were originally developed by the U.S. government. For instance, standards for encoding data (e.g., country codes), but more significantly some encryption standards, such as the Data Encryption Standard (FIPS 46-3) and the Advanced Encryption Standard (FIPS 197) In 1994, NOAA began broadcasting coded signals called FIPS (Federal Information Processing System) codes along with their standard weather broadcasts from local stations. These codes identify the type of emergency and the specific geographic area (such as a county) affected by the emergency.

Withdrawal of geographic codes

Some examples of FIPS Codes for geographical areas include FIPS 10-4 for country codes or region codes and FIPS 5-2 for state codes. These codes were similar to or comparable with, but not the same as, ISO 3166, or the NUTS standard of the European Union. In the last several years, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, which oversees the database, has withdrawn several geographic codes.[2]

In 2006, the NIST withdrew the FIPS 55-3 database. This database included 5-digit numeric place codes for cities, towns, and villages, or other centers of population in the United States. The codes were assigned alphabetically to places within each state, and as a result changed frequently in order to maintain the alphabetical sorting. NIST replaced these codes with the more permanent GNIS Feature ID, maintained by the U.S. Board on Geographic Names. The GNIS database is the official geographic names repository database for the United States, and is designated the only source of geographic names and locative attributes for use by the agencies of the Federal Government.[3]

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