Although postcodes are typically known for the use by the Royal Mail to sort and deliver mail, businesses are able to use these predefined locations to improve analysis and planning by geographical area. If you’re not sure which postcode dataset you need to use for your business then you can use our quick guide to choosing Postcode Maps.
There are three options for choosing postcode boundaries: postcode area boundaries, postcode district boundaries and postcode sector boundaries.
The Postcode Area dataset is the least detailed of all postcode datasets. The first letters of the whole postcode gives us the Postcode Area. For example, for OX29 8RU the Postcode Area is OX. These Postcode Areas are based around a central Post Town (in this case Oxford), and cover a large area. London is too big to be treated as a single Post Town, so is split into smaller areas such as South West (SW). There are 124 Postcode Areas covering the United Kingdom and these are shown in full on our Postcode Area Map which is available in wall map or digital format.
The Postcode District dataset includes the Area code and the numbers that follow it. For example, for OX29 8RU the Postcode District is OX29. These Postcode Districts cover smaller areas and are based around local Delivery Offices (in this case Witney, near Oxford). As they are roughly based on a set number of households, they range in size from larger rural areas in Scotland, to less than a square kilometre in London. There are just over 3000 Postcode Districts in the United Kingdom and we have them all mapped across our Postcode District Map range which are available in wall map or digital format.
The Postcode Sector dataset is uses the first half of the postcode plus the first number after the space. For example, for OX29 8RU the Postcode Sector is OX29 8. The Postcode Sector covers an even smaller area than the district, such as small town or suburb. We have a selection of Postcode Sector Maps for major cities and towns, or alternatively a Site Centred Postcode Sector Map solution for any area. Both options are available in wall map or digital format.
Postcode Units are in effect the whole postcode with the final two numbers of the postcode identifying a small group of properties, a single property, a sub-section of properties or an individual organisation. Due to the detailed nature of this dataset we do not have any prepared maps available showing the Postcode Units, although the digital dataset is available to use within business mapping applications if required. Postcode units are available as areas covering a few tens of metres, or as single point locations representing the approximate central position.
The postcode map datasets are available in wall map or in digital format. Often we are asked by businesses to create applications that use these postcodes for geographical interrogation. You can read our pages on consultancy or mapping software to gain a better understanding of how these applications can help your business with a range of day to day tasks.
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