Author Topic: Wonders of modern postal service  (Read 8662 times)

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Offline Pabitra

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Re: Wonders of modern postal service
« Reply #30 on: April 12, 2015, 11:35:45 AM »
Well the destination code is written by the sender as part of the address on the packet & is read electronically unless it's written badly, at least it works that way in the UK

Yes, it works perfectly within the country.
We are talking of international mail here.

Offline Figleaf

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Re: Wonders of modern postal service
« Reply #31 on: April 12, 2015, 12:18:55 PM »
Sooner or later, there has to be international agreement on standardization.

I hope not. My Dutch bank account number had 8 digits. My father's bank account had 7 digits. They were not more difficult to remember than a phone number. Now, thanks to European standardisation, I need a BIC of 8 digits and an IBAN of 18 digits, 3 times as many as before. Extrapolating that to postal codes would yield postal codes of 15 to 18 digits!

Peter
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Offline FosseWay

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Re: Wonders of modern postal service
« Reply #32 on: April 12, 2015, 01:51:11 PM »
Modern post sorting offices have technology to read postcodes or zip codes etc rather than actual addresses so such errors should not occur. If I type the postcode for my actual house into Google Earth it zooms right in to where I live so how come the international post offices can't manage to do the same thing & read the postcode  ???

This occurred some time ago so could well be before (reliable) machine readers.

I would also caution against implementing some kind of pan-European postcode system just for its own sake. The most important disadvantage is that I don't see that resulting improvements in postal accuracy (if any) would be in proportion to the huge cost and the unwieldiness that Peter mentions.

More specifically, postcodes are used for different things in different countries and have different levels of accuracy depending on the other preconditions for postal delivery in the country in question.

The UK postcode is extremely accurate, such that you can address a letter to personal name, house number/name and postcode and it will get there. It is also accurate enough to be used for a wide range of other things like car and home insurance. On the other hand, it needs to be that accurate, because the rest of the UK's postal address system is completely chaotic. Houses sometimes have names, sometimes numbers. House numbering is sometimes up one side of the street and down the other, sometimes odds on one side, evens on the other. 13 is sometimes missing. Chunks of numbering are sometimes missing because a bunch of houses were destroyed in WW2 and then replaced with something other than housing. Acacia Street, Acacia Crescent, Acacia Close and Acacia Avenue are all different roads and can often be located next to each other. (Compare the US, where the suffix (street, crescent etc.) is mostly irrelevant and it's the first part that matters.) There is no uniformly agreed way of displaying building numbers on the actual buildings. Counties/other administrative divisions can be pre-1974, 1974-1996, post-1996 or absent entirely.

The Swedish postcode (5 digits) is much less accurate by itself, but within Sweden there are no two postal districts with the same name, and within a given postal district there are no two streets with the same name (ignoring the "suffix" element).

Imposing a one-size-fits-all system would require significant (and therefore costly and confusing) changes to addresses throughout the EU.

Providing the destination country is clearly marked on the envelope, you don't need automatic sorting equipment that can distinguish a Swedish from a British postcode - it just needs to read the country. For international mail, the postcode doesn't need to be read until the letter reaches the destination country. It could be useful to have an internationally accepted abbreviation for European countries analogous to that used by the USPS for US states, but only if it was recognised and implemented everywhere. Part of the problem with this is that there are so many subtly different one-, two- or three-letter country abbreviations in use for different purposes - vehicle number plates, languages, internet TLDs, postal services, sports competitions, you name it: they all use their own separate variant. So long as that's the case you'll get people using the "wrong" one on letters, and that's before you factor in the people who object to "UK" in relation to Northern Ireland or "France" for Corsica and so on.

Offline Pabitra

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Re: Wonders of modern postal service
« Reply #33 on: April 12, 2015, 01:57:09 PM »
Peter, I do not have to remember the18 digits because the card stores everything.
I just have to remember 4 digit pin.

Yes. It is part and parcel of globalisation.
I used to live in a small town and had four digit telephone numbers.
I remembered the telephone numbers of all my friends.
Then the city grew, and we had five digit numbers.
I grew up and moved to a big city with six digit numbers.
Then seven digit numbers.
Then came mobile telephones and we had 10 digit numbers.

As a part of growing up, my memory is no longer as good as it used to be.
I have now separate numbers for iPad, iPhone and desktop internet apart from landline numbers.
Then there are passwords to remember.
Luckily all numbers are stored in mobile phone and I do not sometimes remember some of my own numbers.
Life goes on.

There will methods and solutions to find the way out and cross the bridge when we come to it.

Offline capnbirdseye

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Re: Wonders of modern postal service
« Reply #34 on: April 12, 2015, 01:59:48 PM »
Yes, it works perfectly within the country.
We are talking of international mail here.


I'm saying that the postcode is identifiable from anywhere in the world, if Google Earth can identify & locate it then so should worldwide Post centres. My lost coin has turned up in the USA but it's obvious from the address that it should be sent on to UK
Vic

Offline malj1

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Re: Wonders of modern postal service
« Reply #35 on: April 12, 2015, 02:05:51 PM »
Australia uses a simple four digit post code, this works very well.

Useful too when buying on the internet Australia wide - just add the post code to the box provided and you instantly get the delivery charge.


Malcolm
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Offline Pabitra

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Re: Wonders of modern postal service
« Reply #36 on: April 12, 2015, 02:11:16 PM »
Part of the problem with this is that there are so many subtly different one-, two- or three-letter country abbreviations in use for different purposes - vehicle number plates, languages, internet TLDs, postal services, sports competitions, you name it: they all use their own separate variant.

Sheer ignorance at post office level is not only link to be blamed.
When I used a standard label for a coin, quite a few of my numismatist friends also were puzzled.
1 UKH stands for Ukraine Hryvnia and is got nothing to do with United Kingdom.
Tell someone IDR and his reaction will be Indian Rupee and never Indonesian Rupiah.

Perhaps machine reading will solve the problem at post office end but what about senders ignorance?

Offline Pabitra

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Re: Wonders of modern postal service
« Reply #37 on: April 12, 2015, 02:14:40 PM »

if Google Earth can identify & locate it then so should worldwide Post centres.

Google Earth can locate well mapped countries.
I failed while trying to locate a bridge in Krakow, Poland or a Tower in Thiruvananthapuram in India.

I could locate a small shop in Camden Market, London and was really surprised.

Offline chrisild

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Re: Wonders of modern postal service
« Reply #38 on: April 12, 2015, 04:04:47 PM »
1 UKH stands for Ukraine Hryvnia and is got nothing to do with United Kingdom.

So what does the currency code UAH mean then? ;)

Christian

Offline FosseWay

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Re: Wonders of modern postal service
« Reply #39 on: April 12, 2015, 04:10:36 PM »
When I used a standard label for a coin, quite a few of my numismatist friends also were puzzled.
1 UKH stands for Ukraine Hryvnia and is got nothing to do with United Kingdom.
Tell someone IDR and his reaction will be Indian Rupee and never Indonesian Rupiah.

In situations like that, the simplest way of avoiding confusion is not to use an abbreviation in the first place. It is a minor source of irritation to me that so many providers of information of various kinds choose to abbreviate things when it is not necessary either for reasons of physical space or computer memory. There have been two periods in recent communications history where more or less any abbreviation is by definition preferable to the full version: when using telegrams, priced by the word or letter, and when writing text messages on a pre-smartphone mobile. Both are largely obsolete now. If you mean "10 rupees" why not write "10 rupees" when directing your observations to an international audience?

As to locating postcodes on Google Maps - it will identify Canadian and British postcodes directly, because they are the only systems using those respective layouts of letters and numbers. US, French, German, Swedish, Italian and no doubt other postal systems use five digits. If you simply type a five-digit postcode into Google Maps you won't get a reliable result. Presuming the given combination of digits actually exists, you will either get a postcode in your own country if your country uses such a postcode system and your Google profile is set to your country's TLD, or it will default to the US. You may get a list of results in a number of countries, but this won't help you decide which is the right one. The country name is therefore essential, whether on Google or at post offices.

Offline Pabitra

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Re: Wonders of modern postal service
« Reply #40 on: April 12, 2015, 05:22:33 PM »
Another place where the system works perfectly is ISBN, which is a 13 digit code for books.
I do not have any idea how the standardisation is maintained but in most of the countries, an author or a publisher can get an ISBN allotted without any fees or hassles.
« Last Edit: April 12, 2015, 05:34:46 PM by Pabitra »

Offline Bimat

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Wonders of modern postal service
« Reply #41 on: April 13, 2015, 07:51:55 AM »
It seems that I kept everyone busy before disappearing from the scene. ;D

Any letter sent to India MUST have the pin code mentioned! If you do not mention the pin code, there's a high possibility that its delivery will be delayed or it may get lost too. Many times, employees at the sorting center are not well educated and they may not be able to read the address written in English. In that case, they will only see the pin code and drop the letter in concerned bag for further dispatch. Interesting to note that there are over 100 pin codes for Mumbai city alone (104 if I guess it right) and if you add neighboring metros (Navi Mumbai, Thane, Kalyan etc), the count may go over 200.

Once the letter arrives at post office of desired pin code, the further delivery becomes much easier and the people at the sorting center are usually aware of who lives where and even an incomplete / unreadable address may not be a big issue.

Aditya
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Offline Pabitra

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Re: Wonders of modern postal service
« Reply #42 on: April 13, 2015, 11:06:05 AM »
The discussion started with International mail going haywire.

Within any country, the Zip or respective code takes over.
It is international exchange which creates the delay ( with or without loss ).

In India I have heard of a letter from Delhi for Belgium, landing in Belgaum ( small town in South India) even when no code was required and hence no written.

Offline chrisild

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Re: Wonders of modern postal service
« Reply #43 on: April 13, 2015, 11:36:41 AM »
At least the addresses in the "domestic" format are relatively compact in most countries. For a private address that would be:
FirstName LastName
StreetAddress
PostCode City (or some variation)

Add the country name in a last line, and that's it. In some countries, however, the address is quite long, like five or six lines. If you then added anything like "(the country between A-land and B-land)", it would get even trickier. ;D

Christian

Offline chrisild

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Re: Wonders of modern postal service
« Reply #44 on: April 13, 2015, 11:44:47 AM »
My Dutch bank account number had 8 digits. My father's bank account had 7 digits. They were not more difficult to remember than a phone number. Now, thanks to European standardisation, I need a BIC of 8 digits and an IBAN of 18 digits, 3 times as many as before. Extrapolating that to postal codes would yield postal codes of 15 to 18 digits!

Here in Germany the number looks quite long at first sight but is actually not complicated. My IBAN (German bank) has the country code (2 characters) plus a checksum (2 digits). The remaining 18 digits are simply my old BLZ plus my old account number. And the BIC is not needed anyway, except - until 1 Feb - for payments to SEPA accounts outside Germany.

Don't really see a reason for "standardizing" postal codes. What I could imagine though is some kind of UPU agreement on where the code should be. Maybe before the city name, maybe after it, maybe in an extra line. That may make processing international mail easier, dunno. But that should be it ...

Christian