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Miscellaneous Information

Various Identification Codes ...

GNIS Codes ...

The U.S. Board on Geographic Names (BGN) was created to address the problems caused by spelling and naming variations. The BGN will usually recognize an existing name or, when necessary, chose a new name for a geographic feature (such as a mountain, lake, river, stream, city, town, village, dam, bridge, etc).

The BGN names are kept in a database called the Geographic Names Information System (GNIS) and it is the official Federal repository. The GNIS is operated and maintained by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).

A unique and permanent numeric identifier has been assigned for each name in the GNIS database. These names and identifiers are definitive and it is intended that they are to be used by all departments of the Federal Government:

GNIS ID for Tempe: 2412045

GNIS ID for Maricopa County: 37026

GNIS ID for Arizona: 1779777

FIPS Codes ...

In a past effort, various federal agencies worked together to create a set of codes with a purpose similar to the GNIS codes. These codes are called the Federal Information Processing Standard (or the FIPS 55 codes). Although they are still used by some organizations, the FIPS codes are obsolete and will ultimately be replaced by the GNIS codes.

The following FIPS codes apply to Tempe:

Place (Community) Code:  73000
State Code:  04 (Arizona)
County Code:  013 (Maricopa County)

Since the Place and County FIPS codes are not unique and can be repeated in other States, it's necessary to combine the State code with the Place and County FIPS codes to uniquely identify them - for example:

State/Place Code:  04/73000
State/County Code:  04/013

As already mentioned, the FIPS codes are to be replaced by the GNIS codes. The following reflect those changes:

 FIPS Code
translates to    
State of Arizona:    04   1779777
Maricopa County:    04/013   37026
Tempe:    04/73000   2412045

GPS Location - GNIS vs Census ...

An important aspect of the GNIS code is that it assigns a GPS location (the latitude/longitude) to the geographic feature. This location is simply a point on the map and does not represent the size or shape of the feature. In the case of Tempe, it is a point within Tempe that might be a post office, the city hall or simply an intersection - the point should really be considered arbitrary and only indicating a general location.

For Tempe, the GNIS GPS location is given as:

Lat:   33° 23' 17"   (or 33.39°)

Lon:   -111° 55' 54"   (or -111.93°)  

Determined by its statistical needs, the Census Bureau has defined a sampling area for Tempe - this area also contains a map point. As with the GNIS code, the location of the Census point should be considered as being arbitrary within the sampling area.

For Tempe, the Census 2010 GPS location is given as:

Lat:   33° 23' 18"   (or 33.39°)

Lon:   -111° 55' 54"   (or -111.93°)  

The map point defined by the Census Bureau lies 59 feet to the north<1> of the point given by the GNIS (see above).

You might note that the GPS location given for the 2010 Census is different than the location that was specified by the 2000 Census:

Lat:   33° 23' 19"   (or 33.39°)

Lon:   -111° 55' 43"   (or -111.93°)  

The GPS location given for the 2000 Census lies 918 feet to the east<2> of the point given by the 2010 Census.

Regional Codes ...

For statistical purposes, the US Census Bureau has divided the country into four Regions. Tempe is located in Region #4 (the West Region).

In turn, the US Census Bureau has further divided each Region into Divisions. Tempe is located in Division #8 (the Mountain Division).

The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has created ten Federal Regions. Tempe is located in Region IX (Region 9).

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has created ten Management Regions. Tempe is located in Region IX (Region 9).

ZIP Codes ...

While some people have used ZIP codes to identify a community, the ZIP codes were actually created to make mail delivery more efficient by grouping addresses together. Although a ZIP Code doesn't specifically identify a city like Tempe, they do identify addresses that are in (or near) the city. It's important to remember that the boundaries of a ZIP Code are defined by the needs of the USPS and can be changed, re-assigned or overlapped with other ZIP Codes.

Our list of ZIP codes for Tempe :  & .<3>

Referenced GNIS Records ...

GNIS ID #12233   (Name of Record: Tempe)

Class: populated place

A place or area having clustered or scattered buildings and a permanent population (such as a city, settlement, town or village). The boundaries may or may not coincide with the perceived population.

A 'populated place' record may have a corresponding 'census' or 'civil' record. The information contained in the 'populated place' record applies only to the class and should not be confused with either the 'census' and 'civil' classes.

County: Maricopa

Map Name: Tempe

Lat: 33.414768       Lon: -111.9093095  

Elev: 360 ft.

GNIS ID #2412045   (Name of Record: City of Tempe)

Class: civil

A political division formed for administrative purposes (such as a borough, county, incorporated place, parish, town or township).

A 'civil' record may have a corresponding 'census' or 'populated place' record. The information contained in the 'civil' record applies only to the class and should not be confused with either the 'census' and 'populated place' classes.

County: Maricopa

Map Name: Tempe

Lat: 33.3882526       Lon: -111.9318  

Elev: 360 ft.

Referenced FIPS Records ...

FIPS Code: 04/73000   (Place Name: Tempe)

County: Maricopa     (FIPS State/County: 04/013)

Class: C1

Identifies an incorporated place (ie- Tempe) that does not serve as a primary county division - or in other words, it is included in and is part of a primary county division (ie- Maricopa County).

GSA Code: 490

MRF Code: 360

MSA Code: 6200

The official website for Tempe:

The official website for Maricopa County:

The official website for State of Arizona:

The official website of the U.S. Board on Geographic Names (BGN)

The official website of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)

The official website of the U.S. Census Bureau

The official website of the U.S. Office of Management and Budget (OMB)

The official website of the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)

Footnotes ...

<1>The calculated bearing (or angle) to the GNIS-supplied location is 354 degrees and a distance of 59 feet.
<2>The calculated bearing (or angle) to the 2000 Census location is 276 degrees and a distance of 918 feet.
<3>When looking for a ZIP Code, whether Tempe or elsewhere, it's always best to check the website of the United States Postal Service (USPS).


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This page was last modified/updated: 19 Jul 2024