Thousands of our Customers have been visualizing their business data and creating sales territories at different levels using various geographic and demographic values. One of the most common datasets used has been zip codes and we’re happy to announce support for three-digit zip codes in our mapping software.
What are Zip codes?
Zip codes are a system of postal codes used by the United States postal service, a basic zip code is made up of five numbers. Originally used by postal services, they are now a fundamental part of addresses. This means every business and customer have zip codes, so when mapping sales territories location data is likely to contain zip codes.
eSpatial has been providing five-digit zip codes for some time based as ZCTAs (ZIP Code Tabulation Areas) which is the Census Bureau’s definitions of zips from the last census. This includes zips for all populated areas. Recently we’ve had a number of requests for three-digit zip codes from users who have found zip codes to be too fine grained. As we continue to constantly update our software, we’ve introduced three-digit zip code support to help even more organizations successfully map their business data.
So what are three-digit zip codes?
Three digit zip codes represent the first three digits of a standard zip code. The first digit of a five-digit zip Code divides the United States into10 large areas, each containing groups of states. These start from zero on the east coast to 10 on the west code. Within each of these areas, each state is divided into an average of 10 smaller geographical areas, which are identified by the second and third digits. The first three digits usually designate a sectional center facility (a mail sorting and distribution center for an area), from there, the last two digits determine where the mail would be delivered.
Why are three-digit Zip codes used?
Three-digit zip codes provide way organizations to create and map territories at a higher level than five-digit zip codes. This can be particularly important in the creation of sales territories, allowing organizations to align larger sales territories while still using zip code boundaries. Five-digit Zip codes can be too fine grained for creating territories for some businesses. Logistics and distribution firms also commonly use three-digit zip codes to create distribution areas for deliveries.
How we created them
This dataset was created based on Zip Code Tabulation Area data (ZCTA), with gaps filled using an algorithm developed by eSpatial GIS technicians. ZCTAs are generalized areal representations of United States Postal Service’s ZIP Code service areas.