If you are from the US, you might or might not know that your postal code system is one of the worst of the modernized world.
In case you are not familiar with the US zip code maps, here is a refresher, pay close attention to the exceptions:
That means that out of the 5 digits that a zip code has, 1 is used to determine the region, and up to 3 are used to determine the state, leaving only say, 2.5 digits reserved solely for the specific area.
Granted, zip codes now have an added 4 digits, but most people can’t really remember a 9 digit zip code.
If we compare to it’s Northern Neighbor, Canada, here is the postal code map:
Quickly, we can see that most provinces have a single letter and that only the 2 most populous ones have more than 1 (Québec and Ontario).
Oddly, Yukon has the letter Y and British Columbia, whose 2 most important cities are Victoria and Vancouver, has the letter V.
Please note that when Nunavut split from North West Territory, it kept the same postal code prefix, X.
Also note the absence of the letter D, F, I, O, Q and U which are not used to prevent confusion with other symbols (like the letter I and the number 1, the letter O and the number 0.). W and Z are not used in the first position, but they are used for the rest of the postal code.
Montreal gets it’s own letter (H) as does Toronto (M)
Canadian postal codes follow the pattern: Letter-Digit-Letter Digit-Letter-Digit, such as H3T 8G5, or H0H 0H0 (which is Santa Claus’ postal code).
The first 3 digits are the Forward Sortation Areas, which allows to route a letter to a specific geographic area, while the last 3 digits are local delivery units or the specific area served by the postal code.
Some institutions get their own postal code, such as universities and hospitals. If they end with 0, the destination is a postal office, while 9Z9 is reserved for business reply mail.
Finally, there are 2 types of postal codes: Rural (second character is 0) and Urban (second character is greater than 0).
Proposal for Talossa
Using the US system as an inspiration would be, for a Canadian like me, and aberration and so, I am proposing to use a system inspired by the Canadian system, but composed of 5 digits, like the US, following this pattern:
Which would make the Talossan postal codes significantly unique compared, as far as I know, to any other postal code system on the planet, while paying homage to the 5 digit US ZIP codes.
Just like in Canada, each position would have a specific purpose as described below.
The first character of the postal code will be the province, in the following traditional order:
Wait, Pengopats isn’t a province, is it? No, but it still gets a postal code, our penguin citizens need to get mail, don’t they?
I am fully aware that this assignment doesn’t seem allow for another province, but 0 is still available.
Second Character (A-M)
Every province is divided into Cantons. These Cantons will each get a single letter to identify them, so that the letter flow naturally from the North-West to the South-East, going from West to East in a single row, and then, continuing from West to East in the same order.
The first 10 Cantons would therefore get the letter A, B, C, E, G, H, J, K, L, M since D, F and I will not be used, as in the Canadian system.
If a province has more than 10 Cantons, 2 or more cantons will need to be merged and get a joint letter.
Second Character (Z)
When the second character is Z, the postal code designates an office of the government of the province. For example, postal codes starting with 2Z designate postal codes in used by the province of Cézembre.
The only exception to that rule are for postal codes starting with 1Z, which is for both the government of Atatûrk, and the official offices of the Kingdom (since the capital of the Kingdom is in Atatûrk).
Second Character (W)
When the second Character is W, the destination isn’t actually in Talossa, but rather, in the Wisconsin state catchment area for that province.
Second Character ( N-Y)
The characters N,M,P,R,S,T,V and Y are used for the catchment area of the province outside of Wisconsin. Characters O,Q and U aren’t used in our system, like for Canada, and W and Z are used for other purposes above.
We would use S for the Catchment areas within the United States (but outside Wisconsin) and the rest of the letters for the various other countries, possibly grouping them into geographic areas if more than 7 non-us countries are assigned to the catchment area for that province.
Third Character (0)
If the 3rd Character is a zero, it means the postal code is special. For example, 4W0 might mean the administration of the catchment area in Wisconsin.
In the case of the national government in Atatûrk, for example, the postal code would start with 1Z0, to distinguish it from the Atatûrk government, which would use 1Z1 to 1Z9 (if needed).
Third Character (1-9)
The third Character will be used to determine the general area within the zone delimited by the first 2 characters.
- For A-M, odd 3rd characters would point to streets which are set in a general North-South direction while even 3rd characters would point to streets in a general West-East direction. A low number (1-2) would be at the North-West corner of the zone, while a higher number (8-9) would be in the South-East corner of the zone
- For W, the same principle as for A-M is used but on a bigger scale
- For N-Y however, the second digit will be used to determine the state or province (or group of state of provinces) of the foreign Country. In Atatûrk, for example, Québec could be 1N2 and Ontario 1N1.
- For Z however, the third character determines the division of the provincial government, with 2 being for the Governor, Custeval and Senator (and other single individual offices), 3 being for the national assembly, etc..
Last 2 characters
At this point, the last 2 characters are used to refine the destination so that for every postal code, ideally (In Talossa at least), only a single occurrence of each house number is present.
It is not possible to assign such precision for foreign countries (or even Wisonsin), so instead, the first citizen for that area gets assigned the code A1, and the second A1 and so on, ignoring digits 0 and 9.
I, for example, would have the postal code: 1N2A1 since I was the first citizen from Québec to join Atatûrk.
Where do we go from here?
Unless this idea is utterly opposed, I will start making a map of Talossa with postal codes assigned up to the 5 digits. It will take a long time, but slowly, we should get there.
Provinces are encouraged to clearly define their canton and even to propose their letters. Other citizens are encouraged to help me in this massive nation-building exercise.
Does it really matter?
Of course not, but if, like me, you find geography fun, let’s have a postal code assignment party together!