The ISO, in its standard ISO 3166-1 Alpha 2, defines a codification with two letters to identify each country (e.g. DE - Germany). The problem is, that you will find here only 246 countries and islands in the ISO-list. But there are many other tiny islands and extraterritorial ares in the world (e.g. the spanish exclave Ceuto in North Africa). The United Nations Economc Commission for Europe (UNECE) defined some more small islands and extraterritorial areas, but there are still some islands and areas missing. In my sandlist, I am sticking to the ISO-3166-1 two letter code, even if the ISO-Code is not 100% error-free.
To begin with, this is only about the countries ... but what is about the counties, regions, states of each country? Here you will find another good website (Statoids ) with nearly all counties, regions and states of nearly all countries and islands. But there are still many extraterritorial areas missing. So there is not one complete list :-(
Hm, now everybody should be confused ... but to tell the truth, I am the same! It is a shame, that there is not one official list in the world, which defines clearly ALL countries, islands, extraterritorial areas including their counties, states and regions.
Not to make more confusion, please visit the following websites:
Example: You have got a sand sample from Denkendorf in Germany
The problem is, that the town Denkendorf is not exact definied, as there are exactly two towns called Denkendorf in Germany ! Therefore it is not precise enough for a sand collector. Thus I check all sands with the ISO/UNECE-Codes, which looks like the following (if there is even code !):
|Denkendorf - Germany ???|
|ISO 3166-1 Alpha 2
|CY - Cyprus|
|CZ - Czech Republic|
|DE - Germany||BE - Berlin|
|BR - Brandenburg|
|BW - Baden-Württemberg||EM - Emmendingen|
|ES - Esslingen|
|FR - Freiburg im Breisgau|
|KA - Karlsruhe|
|BV - Bavaria|
|DJ - Djibouti|
|DK - Denmark|
That means, that the sand sample with the code DE-BW-ES comes from the rural district Esslingen in the county Baden-Württemberg and finally from the country Germany. What else do you need to be happy ;-)
So many things, a lot of work but still nothing is perfect. I am working still on my Sand-Database and completing always the Countries, Counties, Rural Districts and Regions and so on. At the moment, my sand list is as it is! Please come back later and check out for changes ...