Archive

Posts Tagged ‘Zip Codes’

ZIPScribble Animated

January 20th, 2008 5 comments

Animated ZIP (code) Scribble Map in Google EarthThis is a Google Earth, time animated version of the U.S .ZIP map in my post from a couple of days ago. Based on Robert Kosara’s ZipScribble maps. 

The KML file contains 43,000 lines connecting every ZIP code in the country, TimeStamped in ascending numerical order.  

Just a slight warning: This is a very large and detailed time animation. It runs smoothly on my 3-year old PC (the little GIF above is from a real time capture), but may not work on some computers.

ZIP Scribble Map (USA) (650kB)

Viewing the File

  • Hit the play button in the Time Control, top right of the screen, or just drag the slider left or right. 
  • time_delta_google_earth.JPGExpand the time span to increase the number of ZIP Codes displayed at any time.
  • Deselect folders in the left sidepanel to alter the scope of the animation.
  • Change the visualization to a cumulative animation by selecting clamp beginning of time window in the time option dialog  – accessed through the white clock icon to the left of the time slider.

and…

  • The numbers shown under the Time Control are 5-digit ZIP codes without the leading zeros.
  • States are different Colours. No significance in the choice of colour – it’s just for contrast with one another and the terrain.
  • White lines indicate the sequence jumping a State boundary.

P.S.  for a different take on visualizing ZIPs,  check out Ben Fry’s  Java, zipdecode.

KML ZIP Scribble Map

January 18th, 2008 2 comments

US ZIP code Locations, in Google Earth

About a year ago, Robert Kosara at eagereyes.org published a fascinating set of visualizations demonstrating the overall structure of ZIP (and post) codes in various countries, for obvious reasons he called them ZipScribble maps. Robert compiled  PDF maps of the USA,  and a dozen more countries

The concept he uses is remarkably straightforward:

 1) Plot the centroid of every ZIP code area onto a map.
 2) Join these with lines, dot-to-dot, in ascending numerical (or alphabetical) order.

I know several people did similar things for various parts of the world, but I don’t think anyone ever published one of these in KML (?)

Anyway, as you can see from the picture at the top of the post, inspired by Robert’s maps I’ve compiled a visualization for Google Earth, showing a complete set of 43,000 U.S. ZIP codes.  Bordering States are shown in different colours.  White lines indicate where the sequence jumps across a State boundary.

It’s interesting to combine the file with Google Earth’s default Borders and Labels layer to see how the organization of the codes relates to the underlying geography.

Download the file here:

ZIP Scribble Map (USA) (320kB)

There’s a chance this one might cause problems on some computers – 40,000 data points is a lot of information for GE to handle 🙂 .   Before switching on all the States (only a quarter are on by default) it’s probably wise to close any other KML files, or complex layers like Weather and 3D buildings.

Data Source:

1999 U.S. Postal Service ZIP Codes (U.S . Census website)