I work for the USPS reading and keying in addresses from digital pictures of mail pieces that the computerized imaging and sorting system couldn't figure out what to do with for whatever reason. This means I see tons of pictures of mail every day. One thing I haven't figured out yet is foreign zip codes, and Canada's in particular. If any of you Canadians could help me out, I'd really appreciate it. It won't really effect my job much, but it's been bugging the heck out of me. I've been trying to figure it out for the whole time I've had my job (Coming up on 2yrs now). I know that they are 6 characters long and alternate letters and numbers, and always start with a letter. i.e. A1A 1A1. My question though, is what do they mean? If anyone from other countries want to explain yours too, it would be interesting at least to me, and probably some others too.
For those that are curious, I'll explain a little about US Zips. I figure it's only fair, right?
US Zips are 9 digits. Five and a dash and 4 more. I.E. 55555-5555. The last four are a relatively new thing since computers started doing most of the sorting. As you know, mail will get to it's destination fine with just the first five, but it may be a little faster if you happen to know the last four also.
As for what the actual numbers mean... The first two digits in the 9 digit code indicate state and region. The next three narrow it down to city and neighborhood or post office (in the case of PO Boxes). The four after the dash indicate where your address is in relation to the way your carrier's route works. They are used to help the computer sort the mail for each carrier the way he runs his route so his truck can be loaded with the first items he needs at the front, and the last items in the back.
The largest regional numbers (the first two digits) run pretty much east to west across the U.S geographically starting from 00 and going up to 99. Puerto Rico and US Virgin Islands are 00XXX. The east coast starts with 0XXXX in New England. For instance Maine is mostly 03XXX, Connecticut is 06XXX, New Jersey 07XXX and 08XXX, etc. They go all the way to 99XXX in Alaska and Hawaii, and 999XX in Guam and the other US Pacific territories. Middle states like mine (Kansas) are in the middle zip wise. Kansas for instance is all 66XXX or 67XXX. To Narrow it down even further the city of Wichita, KS, for example, has zips from 67202 up to 67236 depending on neighborhood, and which post office services the address you live in or are sending to.
Anyway, I hope this was useful for someone and if not, and least interesting.
...but someone from Canada please tell me what's up with your zips?