Why are postcodes called postcodes
A Post Code (Abbr. Postcode) is a combination of numbers or letters / numbers within postal addresses on letters, parcels or small parcels that delimits the delivery location.
Postcodes in data processing
Postal codes should not be viewed as numbers, as they are not used for calculations, but as character strings, because they cannot only consist of digits. In the English-speaking environment, the postcodes are more correct than code designated. Since postal codes can have up to 10 digits (e.g. United States of America: five digits, hyphen, four digits), a length of ten characters is recommended for the postal code when storing international addresses in IT systems.
Reasons why postcodes should not be viewed as numbers:
- Postal codes that start with a zero, if processed as numbers, would lose that leading zero. As a result, the same length and sort order would no longer be guaranteed.
- The numeric value of a zip code has no meaning. Arithmetic operations on postcodes (e.g. forming the difference between two postcodes) are meaningless.
- Postcodes are not only made up of digits in all countries. The postcodes may also contain letters and / or special characters for the following countries: Argentina, Bermuda, Brunei, Canada, Jamaica, Malta, Netherlands, United Kingdom, Venezuela
Postal codes in the private sector
Although postal codes originally function as an internal postal delivery system, they have at least a quasi-official character in the vast majority of 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.
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 it can be said for almost every point in a country 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 borders 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 system of areas, i. That is, the first digits describe a coarser zoning than the full zip code. Company activities can thus 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 shown according to zip codes, etc.
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