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In US GIS, FIPS typically refers to federal standard geographic codes. (FIPS is an acronym for "Federal Information Processing Standard".)

Tags with these codes appear on many US states, counties, and places in OpenStreetMap. Unfortunately, the tagging can be messy.

Summary of FIPS code tagging in OpenStreetMap
Name Scope Common keys Notes
FIPS 10-4 Countries and regions

(example: Canada is "CA")

Not a standard since 2008.

Use ISO 3166[1] and see Country code.

Wikidata: Property:P901

FIPS 5-2 US states

(example: California's numeric code is "06")

Now maintained by ANSI

Wikidata: Property:P883

FIPS 6-4 US counties

(example: Fresno County in California is "019", or prefixed with the state code "06019")

Now maintained by ANSI

Wikidata: Property:P882

FIPS 55-3 US places

(example: Fresno city in California is "27000", or prefixed with the state code "0627000")

Now maintained by ANSI

Wikidata: Property:P774

County and place codes are unique only within their state.[2] More than one county in the US has a FIPS code of "001". County and place codes are often combined with their state FIPS code to form a unique code. This complicates OSM semantics a little: sometimes a FIPS tag means "this OSM object is equivalent to this FIPS code" (like ref=*), other times it means "this OSM object is within this FIPS code" (like is_in=*).

Example: On relation Fresno County, nist:fips_code=6019 means "this is California's Fresno County" while nist:state_fips=6 means "this is in California".

Additional tagging notes:

  • nist:fips_code sometimes refers to states ("045"), sometimes counties ("22075")
  • nist: prefix may be considered outdated because NIST is no longer the source for these codes
  • tiger:PLACEFP is just the 5-digit place code ("74352"); tiger:PLCIDFP is the state+place code ("0174352")
  • tiger:CLASSFP (26k uses) refers to a FIPS 55 class code

See also


  1. NIST FIPS replacements (PDF)
  2. Geographic Terms and Concepts - Codes for Geographic Entities. See under "Federal Information Processing Series (FIPS)".

External links