Fifty years ago, on July 1, 1963, the United States Postal Service (USPS) introduced the Zone Improvement Plan Codes, more commonly known as ZIP Codes. Aimed at providing a more efficient way of sorting through billions of pieces of mail each year, ZIP Codes were created in order to divide the country into coded delivery zones. From 1943 to 1963, annual mail volume had doubled to 66.5 billion pieces. Today, On average, the Postal Service processes 20.2 million mailpieces each hour, 336,649 each minute and 5,611 each second.
With the fiftieth anniversary of the ZIP Code, the Office of the Inspector General at the USPS has released a paper exploring ways to improve the ZIP code, “both to save postal costs and to enhance the opportunity for third party innovators to discover new uses and applications.” Check out the “The Untold Story of the ZIP Code”, the executive summary recommends linking the USPS address database with GIS to create a more efficient ZIP Code system.