||Maine Geographic Codes for Minor
Walters and David Kirouac
The Maine Geocodes were developed by the State Planning Office and were adopted by the
Governor in July, 1971 as a method of providing a unique identifier (a unique number) for
minor civil divisions (cities, towns, reservations, etc.) within the state. Over time,
some agencies have adopted changes as they have occurred, while other state agencies have
not adopted the changes. As a result, there were different versions of the Geocodes used
within state government.
What is a Geocode?
The Geocode is a 5-digit number that consists of a 2-digit county number (this is a
federal code) followed by a 3-digit code that refers to the minor civil division (example:
the code for Kennebec County is 11 and the Geocode for Augusta is 11020). There are
federal codes for minor civil divisions (from the Bureau of the Census) but they vary
greatly from the state codes because the federal codes do not recognize townships.
A status code (or letter code) is associated with each place name to
indicate the type of minor civil division.
C = City
V = Village
T = Town
L = Location or Settlement
P = Plantation
A = Alternate Name
R = Reservation
U = Unorganized Township
The Maine GIS Technical Committee formed a subcommittee to 1) develop procedures
governing the current use of the codes, and 2) prevent creation of nonstandard Geocodes in
the future. The Committee initiated this study because of the widespread use of the codes
in computer systems, including geographic information systems. Based upon reports from the
GIS Technical Committee, the GIS Executive Council recommends that the following policies
be adopted by the Information Services Policy Board:
- All state agencies will use the standard geographic codes adopted on July 1, 1971 to
identify Maine minor civil divisions in databases, geospatial databases, spreadsheets and
other computer based data storage and analysis systems. Four new geographic codes will be
added to the 1971 list to identify the towns of Frye Island (05085), Long Island (05125),
Muscle Ridge Shoals Township (13803), and Islands of Moosehead Lake (21000) which were
either formed or recognized after 1971.
- The Maine Office of GIS will be responsible for implementing, maintaining, and providing
information about any version changes as follows:
- Maintain and provide access to a database relating the geographic code with the town
name and official status (i.e., city, town, plantation, reservations, unorganized
- The status code will be changed to reflect changes in minor civil division status
without changing the geographic code (i.e., the geographic code will never change).
- New minor civil divisions will be assigned geographic codes based upon the existing
protocol, if possible. Using the "reserved" numbers will maintain the
correspondence between a numerical sort and alphabetical order within county.
- If a minor civil division is legislated out of existence, the Geocode will be retired
and tracked in related history databases.
The subcommittee continues to meet to evaluate other aspects of the Geocodes. The
Geocodes database has been added to the BIS (Bureau of Information Services) Oracle server
and is available for distribution. For more information on the process of accessing the
Oracle server contact Jim Lopatosky at Jim.Lopatosky@state.me.us
or 624-9410. The Geocodes database will also be made available for download from the GIS
News section of the Maine Office of GIS website http://apollo.ogis.state.me.us/news/news.htm