[Talk-ca] Postal Codes

berniejconnors berniejconnors at gmail.com
Tue Dec 30 17:40:21 UTC 2014

I believe gecoder.ca already provides a method to collect postal codes from citizens. I had a quick look at the website but it was not readily obvious to me. I have sent them an email and when I get the response I will share it here. 

Bernie Connors
New Maryland, NB

<div>-------- Original message --------</div><div>From: Adam Martin <s.adam.martin at gmail.com> </div><div>Date:12-30-2014  10:37 AM  (GMT-04:00) </div><div>To: talk-ca at openstreetmap.org </div><div>Subject: [Talk-ca] Postal Codes </div><div>
</div>Hey all,

I was reading over the previous discussions held here regarding the issue of obtaining postal codes for use with civic addresses in Canada. I understand that, unless specific permission is obtained, there is no way to utilize the information stored in the Canada Post database, even if that information is manually acquired from the database during a lookup. The use is restricted to a very limited personal or business application - ie, I want to send a package and I use the database to get the postal code of the address.

It initially appears odd that Canada Post would be very restrictive with the code data. I understand that they maintain consumer names with the address data, but the OSM project would not be seeking that connective data, just the bare address to attach to a civic or business address. Looking about their site, I eventually encountered this little gem ---> https://www.canadapost.ca/cpo/mc/business/productsservices/mailing/pcdp.jsf

It would appear that Canada Post sells a data product that is, effectively, the postal code data attached to a map. It is provided to businesses for the purposes of datamining, allowing them to hone their mailings or identify exploitable market areas. The cynic in me figures that this is the real reason that they won't give OSM the permission to use the data. Not for protection of the consumer or for privacy, but to make money. Fair enough - it is technically a business.

Anyway, it would appear that obtaining the information from Canada Post is, basically, a dead end. Might I suggest an alternative? Why not a volunteer effort? I can't look up a code and reproduce it on the map, but I can surely put my own postal code and those of my previous addresses into the map. That knowledge has nothing to do with looking it up on their website. I also know the code for my small hometown in Newfoundland as I lived there for years and the entire town uses the same code. Perhaps there is a way to gather the information voluntarily from Canadian citizens and businesses. Basically go around them? For example, a survey on the Reddit forum for Canada could be asked or something like that. The more we can get without using the post office, the better. Business websites are easily some of the best sources - they offer their mail address without any restriction so that is fair use too.

Just a thought!

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