Engineering

Published on December 10th, 2020 | by Sunit Nandi

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What Makes Zip Codes So Accurate?

Communication can be considered as one of the major milestones in the history of human evolution. While it initially started with sounds and gestures, it then paved the way to written format with the invention of writing itself. As time passed, the need of passing this written form of communication in the form of letters or documents from one location to another became imperative, thereby giving birth to the postal system.

Postal System and Zip Codes

History traces back to the use of the postal system some 2500 years back in ancient Egypt. The form of couriers was used by the Pharaohs to distribute their decrees to the faraway lands under their rule. Various countries of the world have their history of postal evolution. However, the underlying reason remained the same in almost all cases.

With the advancement in technology and communication, postal services became accessible to the public in general. The main point of contact for an individual became their addresses. However, similar-looking addresses often confused the postal service providers thus bringing in the concept of special codes known as ZIP Codes (in the United States) or PIN Codes (in Europe, Indian Subcontinent, etc.)

These codes provided the identities of areas in unique ways, which were recognized by the postal service providers quite easily and accurately. Each such postal code has a definite format. For example, the ZIP Codes in the US have a base structure of five digits. It further evolved into a ZIP + four format where the traditional five-digit code followed by another four digits after a hyphen to provide better accuracy.

Locating a ZIP code with Accuracy

In the modern era, Information and Technology have invaded almost all aspects of human life, including postal services. Gone are the days when the postal employees had to go through the ZIP Code list manually to locate a certain address. The introduction of zip code lookup API has reduced the tedious task into just a few clicks.

APIs or Application Programming Interfaces are computer software capable of performing various tasks. In this case, it brings up either the correct zip code or a list of probable zip codes by just reading the text entered in the address section of any web page. Such APIs not only help the end-users but also greatly help the developers in identifying the codes without the need to write lengthy codes for ZIP Code identification.

Such APIs are not only important in the postal services but also for various online shopping sites, food delivery sites, or private courier sites that require definite locations to ensure seamless customer services. Such sites invest a lot in the IT Infrastructure to deliver top quality services.

Multiple IT Companies provide such API products and have various service level agreements with varied pricing ranges to choose from their platter. They also have a free section with the bare minimum services so that one can use them on a trial basis before formally investing.

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About the Author

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I'm the leader of Techno FAQ. Also an engineering college student with immense interest in science and technology. Other interests include literature, coin collecting, gardening and photography. Always wish to live life like there's no tomorrow.



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