Federal Information Processing Standards (FIPS) are publicly announced standards developed by the United States Federal government for use by all non-military government agencies and by government contractors. Many FIPS standards are modified versions of standards used in the wider community (ANSI, IEEE, ISO, etc.)
Some FIPS standards were originally developed by the U.S. government. For instance, standards for encoding data (e.g. country codes), but more significantly some encryption standards, such as the Data Encryption Standard (FIPS 46) and the Advanced Encryption Standard (FIPS 197).
Examples of FIPS Codes:
Important Notice: The GNIS Feature ID superseded the Federal Information Processing Standard (FIPS) 55-3 database Place Code, now referred to as the Census Code as the Federal standard geographic feature record identifier. The FIPS 55-3 standard has been withdrawn and the FIPS55 data have been incorporated into the GNIS. The Census Bureau will continue to assign five digit codes for internal purposes until the transition to the GNIS Feature ID is completed following the 2010 census, at which time the codes will be no longer assigned or used. Until then but no later, Census codes will be available. Legacy systems are highly encouraged to convert to the Feature ID as soon as possible. See http://geonames.usgs.gov/docs/fips55_change.pdf FIPS 55 Change Notice. (Note: FIPS 6-4 State and county codes are separate codes and are NOT affected by this change.)