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ZIP Code Boundaries

How is ZIP Code GIS data created?

Using sophisticated algorithms that strictly interpret monthly data feeds from the US Postal Service, Maponics ZIP Code GIS data is built from the address up to represent on-the-ground reality. Each Maponics ZIP Code boundary is closely tied to the street network as defined in the TIGER/Line ® street data network.

Why do ZIP Code boundaries have to be updated?

There are about 45,000 5-digit ZIP Codes in the US. The exact number changes frequently. Most of those changes are quite small. Others are significant.

ZIP Codes change for two reasons: population growth requires adding ZIP Codes or ZIP Codes are reorganized to facilitate mail delivery.

How much of the country does Maponics ZIP Code data cover?

Maponics ZIP Code GIS data covers the entire United States.

Doesn't the USPS make ZIP Code maps?

No. ZIP Code maps are not made with polygons but with collections of deliverable addresses. Boundaries have to be created using those address clusters and given latitude and longitude coordinates. This is an extensive process that falls outside the mission of the USPS. In fact, USPS.com refers all visitors looking for ZIP Code maps to Maponics.

In what ways are Maponics ZIP Codes more accurate than other ZIP Code datasets that are available?

The enormous effort and amount of resources required to create accurate ZIP Codes often entices companies to take short-cuts. The fact is that some ZIP Codes are easy to map and others are difficult in that they require thought and research. Many data providers over-generalize boundaries by simply dropping ZIP Codes that are hard to map.

Maponics never takes those short-cuts. Strict data methodologies and quality assurance checks ensure that ZIP Code Boundaries accurately capture all ZIP Codes, not just those that are easy to map.

What is a ZIP Code?

ZIP is an acronym for Zone Improvement Plan, and refers to the USPS' initiative in the 1960's to improve the sorting and delivery of mail. Units with roughly the same number of deliverable addresses were created and termed ZIP Code.
ZIP Codes are comprised of 5 numbers. An additional four, referred to as ZIP +4, are appended by the USPS to allow mail to not only reach the postal town associated with a ZIP Code but also be sorted to the level of city block, office building, or individual high-volume receiver of mail.

Are historical or archived ZIP Code products available?

Yes, Maponics offers archived ZIP Code Boundary products starting from year 2008.