Archive for the ‘ZIP Code Boundaries’ Category

Surprising Facts about ZIP Code Boundaries

on February 11, 2014 at 5:07PM

A variety of companies rely on ZIP Code boundaries – from online real estate portals, to direct marketers, to search engines.

Although their applications are all a bit different, one aspect remains the same for every business: using current ZIP Code boundaries is critical. The older the ZIP Code boundaries, the more companies suffer in terms of efficiency, business intelligence, reputation and much more.

You might think staying up to date with ZIP Code boundaries is simple enough. How much do ZIP Codes change, anyway?

The answer might surprise you.

The US Postal Service used Mr. ZIP in the 1960s to encourage the general public to include the ZIP Code in all mailings. Image source: Flickr

ZIP Code boundaries

Changes to ZIP Code Boundaries in 2013

In fact, the US Postal Service expands and consolidates ZIP Codes on a monthly basis – leading to thousands of changes throughout the year.

Our statistics show that in 2013, over three-quarters of a million people were affected by ZIP Code boundary changes (782,080, to be exact).

Here’s the breakdown…

  • Number of ZIP Code boundaries added: 793
  • Number of ZIP Code boundaries deleted: 1376
  • Number of ZIP Code boundaries that were modified: 34,254
ZIP Code boundary changes

Purple represents ZIP Code boundaries that were added, modified or deleted in 2013.

Sources of Updated ZIP Code Boundaries

Clearly, any business that relies on ZIP Code boundaries must be careful to stay updated. Even a few months without updates can leave you significantly behind.

But you can’t get the updated boundaries from the US Postal Service (USPS). Although the USPS creates, modifies and manages ZIP Codes, they do NOT provide ZIP Code boundaries.

So, where do you get them?

ZIP Code boundaries

Zip Code boundaries are common filters in online property search, as depicted here on a Zillow.com search in ZIP Code 75238.

ZCTAs from the US Census Bureau

One option is to use ZCTAs, or ZIP Code Tabulation Areas, provided by the US Census Bureau. These are polygons created from tabular postal data.

The problem with ZCTAs is that they are only released every 10 years. Furthermore, the most recent release – 2010 – does not cover the entire United States.

Using ZCTAs can mean using outdated, incomplete postal data.

Commercial Providers

Another option is to use a commercial provider of ZIP Code boundaries.

The nuances in this option lie in frequency and cost. More expensive providers offer monthly updates – which keeps you covered with current data, but requires a relatively large investment. Less expensive providers only update every year or twice a year, which isn’t enough to be confident in the currency of your data.

ZIP Code boundaries

ZIP Code Tabulation Areas (ZCTAs) for Indiana. Image source: docstoc.com

Maponics ZIP Code Boundaries

Maponics is the industry standard in many areas of spatial data – including ZIP Codes. In fact, Maponics is so trusted that the USPS refers customers looking for ZIP Code data directly to Maponics. Maponics is the only provider of postal map data that is listed on USPS.com as a resource for postal data, ZIP Code maps, carrier route reports, and other postal maps and reports.

Maponics ZIP Code Boundaries are updated every quarter. This keeps the cost reasonable, and it ensures that there is added value with each release. Maponics also offers previous releases of the ZIP Code Boundaries product, so historical ZIPs can be used in tandem with the most current data.

Maponics also offers Maponics Context™, the first-ever suite of lifestyle and behavior analytics. Context products, such as Context Demographics, Context PRIZM, Context Walkability™ and Context Real Estate Sales and Inventory, can be projected onto Maponics ZIP Code Boundaries, for unprecedented insight into local character.

Read Our ZIP Code Boundaries Report Today

To learn more about ZIP Code boundaries and why it’s vital that businesses maintain updated ZIP Code data, check out our free report: Is Your ZIP Code Data Delivering?

4 Use Cases for ZIP Code Boundaries

on January 28, 2014 at 4:43PM

ZIP Code boundaries are the polygons that contain particular ZIP Codes. ZIP Code boundaries, as opposed to ZIP Code points, are helpful when identifying specific geographical regions, or setting up larger territories based on several ZIP Codes.

People are often surprised to learn that the US Postal Service (USPS) does not provide ZIP Code Boundaries. The USPS creates ZIP Codes, of course – but ZIP Code boundaries are only available through a third party.

ZIP Code Boundaries

The ZIP Code boundary for 94104 in San Francisco, CA.

ZIP Code boundaries are especially useful in the following four use cases…

1.  Real Estate Online Search

When home buyers and renters want to narrow down their property search results in an online portal, filtering by ZIP Code is often the preferred method. A search by ZIP Code gets consumers to the right location fast.

ZIP Code boundaries

Maponics ZIP Code Boundaries help users on Redfin.com to filter their property search by ZIP Code.

2. Direct Marketing

When companies want to deliver messaging to specific areas, ZIP Code boundaries are critical.

ZIP Code data is used by the direct marketer to send a mailer for skis to Flagstaff, AZ, not Phoenix, and a coupon for surfing lessons to Santa Barbara, CA, instead of Bakersfield. 5-digit ZIP Codes and ZIP+4 data give marketers the precision they need to target messaging at their most promising prospects.

3. Search/Local Search

Searches conducted by ZIP Code give users an additional way to narrow their results when looking for products and services in a certain area. A ZIP Code is probably the second most frequently used filter in online search, behind specific place-names.

ZIP Code Boundaries

Searching for movies on Google by ZIP Code. Image source: Search Engine Land

4. Sales Territory Mapping

Sales managers can improve sales numbers by segmenting their territories by ZIP Code. For years, a variety of industries have relied on ZIP Code areas quilted together to form regions in which they assign a person or group to represent their business and sell their products.

Maponics ZIP Code Boundaries

Maponics ZIP Code Boundaries are the most trusted, current and reliable ZIP Code data on the market.

Maponics is such a reliable source of postal map data that USPS.com refers customers looking for postal map data directly to us. In fact, Maponics is the only postal map data provider listed on USPS.com as a resource for postal data, ZIP Code boundary maps, carrier route reports and other postal maps and reports.

ZIP Code Boundaries

Maponics is the only postal data provider listed by the USPS as a resource for postal data including ZIP Code boundary maps and carrier route reports.

To make our postal data even more meaningful, customers can perfectly sync Maponics ZIP Code Boundaries with lifestyle and behavioral analytics from our Context™ suite of products, including Context Demographics, Context PRIZM, Context Crime Scores and more.

Companies using Maponics ZIP Code Boundaries include high-profile brands such as Zillow, Keller Williams, Realtors Property Resource, Angie’s List and Lowe’s Companies.

To read more about Maponics ZIP Code Boundaries, download our product sheet.