Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Free postcode search widget

Today I am launching another free widget - Postcode Finder - that allows users to quickly identify relevant postcode number for localities of interest or find out which localities a particular postcode relates to. As all widgets available from aus-emaps.com, it is free to use for any website – I only humbly ask, just tell others about it! Information is sourced directly from Australia Post and is current as of 30 March, 2010 (and will be updated regularly).

Default search option is "postcode number" and “delivery area” as postcode type. Typing numbers in text input box activates “autocomplete” function that returns a list of matching records. Selection of postcode of interest is performed with a mouse click and information about that postcode appears in Results” tab. To activate location/suburb search mode just select relevant control under the input text box in Search” tab.

There are additional search parameters that can be set in Filters” tab. “Delivery area” postcode type is a default. Two other options include “Post office boxes only” and “All types”, which allows searching for Large Volume Receiver postal numbers, delivery area and post office boxes in one go. It is compact by size but not less powerful than postcode search function available on Australia Post site.

The widget can be embedded in any website with a simple line of code. Full postcode finder widget setup instruction is provided on aus-emaps.com site. It is also available as a Google Gadget.

Additional information for users

Australia Post datafile has quite a complex structure so, it is important to highlight certain relationships between records in that file to explain some interesting results of searches. In particular, although Australia Post separates “delivery area” type of postcodes from “post office boxes” type, there are instances of “delivery area” type postcodes that have post office boxes as well. Confusing? Here is an example to illustrate:

Postcode 2020 in NSW is listed as “delivery area” type with the following locations: MASCOT, SYDNEY DOMESTIC AIRPORT, SYDNEY INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT. However, the last two items have additional flag in comments field: “PO Boxes”. Hence, postcode number search for “2020” will return the following information:
Post Code: 2020 (NSW)
Type: Delivery Area
Localities: MASCOT

Locality/ suburb search for “Mascot” will return the following information:

MASCOT (NSW) is in 2020

And the result for “Sydney Domestic Airport” will show the following:

Comments: PO Boxes
Other localities in 2020: MASCOT, SYDNEY INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT (PO Boxes)

Another example of slightly confusing result is when search is for locations with non-unique names. For example:

There are two instances of “Darlington” in NSW, each falling in different postcode. In order to distinguish between the two locations Australia Post adds a reference to nearby locality in “Comments” field. It helps with searching as well. In particular, in case of Darlington there will be two distinct search options available to select from: “DARLINGTON (NSW) Chippendale” and “DARLINGTON (NSW) Singleton". However, the result will contain a comment that may appear a bit out of place, for example:

DARLINGTON (NSW) is in 2008
Comments: Chippendale
Other localities in 2008: CHIPPENDALE

Australia Post publishes regular updates of the datafile and it is available for free download from the following address: http://auspost.com.au/apps/postcode.html

Other related tools from aus-emaps.com

This free postcode finder widget is actually the fifth in the series of postcode focused tools that I developed for aus-emaps.com site. The first one was a thematic map with postcode and suburb boundary overlays. I followed it with more advanced version called Postcode Finder and soon after added demographic maps and demographic data tools containing information from 2006 Census of population and housing published by the Australian Bureau of Statistics. There is still more to come. Stay tuned!

Your comments and suggestions for improvements, as usual, most welcome!

Related post:
Sales Area Management Tool with Postcodes 
Map of Australian Postcodes 
State postcode maps   
Post code maps and population statistics

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