Posts Tagged ‘Zip Scribble’

KML ZIP Scribble Map

January 18th, 2008 2 comments

US ZIP code Locations, in Google Earth

About a year ago, Robert Kosara at 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)