Postcodes in data processing
Postal codes should not be viewed as numbers , as they are not used for calculations, but rather as strings , because they do not necessarily consist of digits . For the following countries, the postcodes may also contain letters or special characters :
There are also postcodes (e.g. Germany) with leading zeros, which were irrelevant when treated as a number. In the English-speaking environment, postcodes are more correctly referred to as codes .
Since postcodes can have up to ten digits (e.g. United States of America: five digits, hyphen, four digits), a length of ten characters is recommended for the postcode when storing international addresses in IT systems .
Postal codes in the private sector
Although postcodes originally function as an internal postal delivery system, they have at least a quasi-official character in most countries around the world. Because not only competing delivery companies use the same system, companies and organizations also plan their spatial activities with the help of the postcode. In the private sector, for example, delivery zones, office areas or field service areas are delimited on this basis . They are also sometimes used for market research , such as B. to survey the customer catchment area of a shop (z. B. hardware store ) at the cash register with the question of the postcode of the customer's place of residence.
The main advantage here is the ability to easily assign different types of organizational information. Because not only company data , but also external control indicators (e.g. resident data) can usually be easily and clearly assigned to a postcode. The postal code has proven itself as an elementary analysis and planning unit due to a number of other properties:
- Postcodes are clear and comprehensive: a postcode area is formed by enclosing all letter boxes with the same postcode. Therefore, for almost every point in a country, it can be said which postcode it belongs to.
- Postcodes form a heterogeneous, fine-meshed network and thus reflect the economic conurbations of a country: In densely populated regions, the individual postcode areas are much smaller than, for example, in uninhabited areas.
- Postcodes correspond to the topography : their boundaries usually run along real objects such as streets, rivers or districts, and a postcode area almost never extends over insurmountable barriers, for example across river sections without crossing.
- In most countries around the world, postcodes form a hierarchical area system , i.e. that is, the first digits describe a coarser zoning than the full zip code. Company activities can be evaluated on different levels.
- Postal code-related information can be communicated particularly easily both internally and externally . For example, field staff or sales representatives can be provided with postcode lists that define “their” area of responsibility. Customers can be asked about their zip code in cashier surveys or delivery zones can be displayed according to zip codes, etc.
Other uses of postal codes
In the case of car navigation systems , the use of the postcode instead of entering the name of the place usually shortens and simplifies handling considerably.
International postal routing systems
After the Ukrainian SSR used a nationwide postal code system called Index for a number of years in the 1930s , the German Reich became the first state in the world to introduce postal codes in 1941. This was followed by the United States (1963) and Switzerland (1964) as the third country. In Austria the postcodes were introduced in 1966 and at the beginning of the year they were advertised with a prominent advertising postage stamp on this topic. In 2003, according to the Universal Postal Union, 117 countries introduced a postal routing system.
- Postcode (Germany)
- Postcode (Austria)
- Postal code (Switzerland) , also applies to Liechtenstein
- Postcode (Italy)
- Postcode map
- Area search , Inaccurate area search
- Field Post Number
- Country codes in the letter service (country code in the letter service)