Friday, July 24, 2015

My new post code

Until recently Ireland was one of the few countries not to have post codes. The only exception to this is Dublin which was divided up into 23 postal districts and my postcode used to be D15 (which I shared with about 50,000 people). Recently the government has launched a system called eircode which provides each address in Ireland with a unique post code. I thought this was good news until I found out the detail of how the new codes work.

My new Eircode is D15NY1* (I obscured the final character to avoid publishing my address). The D15 portion is the same as before and shows roughly where I live, but the NY1* portion is simply a random sequence of characters with no meaning. For example my next door neighbours' post codes are D15KD9* and D15WN8* so they share nothing in common apart from the D15.

For some bizarre reason the postal service think it would be a privacy issue if your  post code were to reveal where you live (is this not the whole point of a post code?). A more likely explanation for the choice of random characters is the fact that the promoters of this system are selling a database which maps between post codes and geographic coordinates. I guess commercial users might want to buy the database, for casual use there is a web site to do lookups.

1 comment:

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