ZIP code map

This is not an official map. These ZIP areas are via the Census Bureau, and they're technically called ZIP Code Tabulation Areas. Some ZIPs are probably missing.

Also: The colors are random. They don't mean anything. They're just there to help differentiate one ZIP from another.

A ZIP code map of New York State

Capital Region ZIP code map clip

This is just a clip -- the clickable map is after the jump.

As it says on the label, here is a clickable map of ZIP codes (roughly) in New York State.

A while back we had planned to include this map with some discursive post about ZIPs and maps and perceptions of place that was related to the Halfmoon-wants-its-own-ZIP thing, but that post ended up only half baked and unpublished (thankfully -- no one needed to be subjected to that). We were reminded of the map again this week because of the wealthiest ZIP code ranking over at the Biz Review.

Anyway (oh no, here we go...), ZIPs are kind of interesting because of what they started as (a way for the US Postal Service to arrange its routes) and what they've ended up being used for (a way for the rest of us to also identify places). As the ZIP data website ZIP Boundary highlights, a ZIP code doesn't really define an area for the USPS, but rather a collection of delivery points.

And then there are the issues related to the fact that ZIPs are only loosely associated with municipalities -- that's how a place like Crossgates, which is in the town of Guilderland, ends up with a postal address that is Albany (because it's in the 12203 ZIP). Here's an interesting history of ZIPs, again from ZIP Boundary, that touches on that issue.

One of the things that's reinforced for us by looking around the map of Capital Region ZIPs is that the codes aren't necessarily a good way of defining areas (well, unless you're delivering mail). Again, using the 12203 ZIP as an example: it stretches from Washington Park in Albany west along Western Avenue, with lobes that include Guilderland, Bethlehem, and New Scotland -- that's an odd collection to group together.

Right, so... on to the map...

Look up

The map is above in large format -- click or scroll all the way up.

Comments

Very cool. I note that some ZIP codes are indeed missing. UAlbany has its own code (12222), as does the New York State Capitol (12224).

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