A Gazetteer for the United States and Canada

Sumas, Washington

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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 number 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 Sumas: 2412000

GNIS ID for Whatcom County: 1529224

GNIS ID for Washington: 1779804

FIPS Codes ...

In a past effort, various federal agencies created 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 Sumas:

Place (Community) Code:  68330
State Code:  53 (Washington)
County Code:  073 (Whatcom 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:  53/68330
State/County Code:  53/073

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

 FIPS Code   translates to   GNIS Code
State of Washington:    53   1779804
Whatcom County:    53/073   1529224
Sumas:    53/68330   2412000

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 Sumas, it is a point within Sumas 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 Sumas, the GNIS GPS location is given as:

Lat:   48° 59' 44"   (or 49°)

Lon:   -122° 16' 10"   (or -122.27°)   [Map]

Determined by its statistical needs, the Census Bureau has defined a sampling area for Sumas - 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 Sumas, the Census 2010 GPS location is given as:

Lat:   48° 59' 44"   (or 49°)

Lon:   -122° 16' 7"   (or -122.27°)   [Map]

The map point defined by the Census Bureau lies 253.8 feet to the east<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:   48° 59' 50"   (or 49°)

Lon:   -122° 15' 55"   (or -122.27°)   [Map]

The GPS location given for the 2000 Census lies 929 feet to the northeast<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. Sumas is located in Region #4 (the West Region).

In turn, the US Census Bureau has further divided each Region into Divisions. Sumas is located in Division #9 (the Pacific Division).

The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has created ten Federal Regions. Sumas is located in Region X (Region 10).

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has created ten Management Regions. Sumas is located in Region X (Region 10).

ZIP Codes ...

While some people have used a ZIP code to identify a community, the purpose of the ZIP code was to make mail delivery more efficient by grouping addresses together. Although the ZIP Code doesn't specifically identify a city like Sumas, it does identify addresses that are in (or near) Sumas. 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.

The ZIP code for Sumas: 98295<3>

Referenced GNIS Records ...

GNIS ID #1512699   (Name of Record: Sumas)

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: Whatcom

Map Name: Sumas OE N

Lat: 49.0001217       Lon: -122.2648752   [Map]

Elev: 0 ft.

GNIS ID #2412000   (Name of Record: City of Sumas)

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: Whatcom

Map Name: Sumas

Lat: 48.9956513       Lon: -122.26971   [Map]

Elev: 12 ft.

Referenced FIPS Records ...

FIPS Code: 53/68330   (Place Name: Sumas)

County: Whatcom     (FIPS State/County: 53/073)

Class: C1

Identifies an incorporated place (ie- Sumas) 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- Whatcom County).

GSA Code: 2200

MRF Code: 1265

MSA Code: 860

Other Roadside Stops ...

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Off-the-Road Links ...

Unfortunately, we don't know of a website for Sumas. If you can help, please contact us through our Feedback Page.

The official website for Whatcom County:

The official website for State of Washington:

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 280 degrees and a distance of 253.8 feet.

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<2>The calculated bearing (or angle) to the 2000 Census location is 305 degrees and a distance of 929 feet.

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<3>When looking for a ZIP Code, whether Sumas 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: 13 Nov 2018
By John Hall