Since our last post offices challenge was such a hit, we thought we’d launch another one for Virginia, West Virginia, and Maryland!
NEW TNMCorps Mapping Challenge for Post Offices in Virginia, West Virginia, and Maryland
Like Tennessee, these states received a lot of attention during TNMCorps’s first challenges (circa 2014-2015) and have several points throughout with no edit history; see the April 2022 newsletter article titled No Edit History Points by Feature Type for what and where these points are. Some of these states are also scheduled for US Topo production soon, so that makes for a great time to revisit the data!
Much has changed for post offices over the past decade, so be sure to check out our Tips and Tricks below.
- Base Map
- Points with No Edit History
- Not Sure What Each Point Color Means?
- Tips & Tricks for This Challenge
Almost all the post offices in Virginia, West Virginia, and Maryland have a yellow or purple border in the editor. But if we overlay the points with no edit history (see below), we can see that there’s still a good amount of work to be done.
Points with No Edit History
This challenge includes points with no edit history. These are points that were edited prior to the launch of our current editing application in 2016. You can identify points with no edit history by highlighting the point and then clicking on the “View History” button in the edit panel. A message saying “This feature has not been edited” will appear in the lower righthand corner. See the newsletter article titled Yellow Points with no Edit History?? (July 2021) for more on this scenario.
Not sure what each point color means?
Each point in the editor has a colored border. These colors are part of our tiered editing process and signal to other editors that a point has passed through the upper tiers and does not need to be edited again. Our November 2018 newsletter has an article titled Editor Roles and Point Colors that describes this process further.
Tips and Tricks for this challenge:
The United States Postal Service (USPS) is a branch of the federal government that sells postage and delivers mail to the general public. A post office is a USPS facility that is staffed with postal service employees and has window service hours for the public. This includes USPS official post offices, Village Post Offices, Post Office Express (POE) locations, postal annexes with a public post office, remotely managed post offices (RMPOs), and part time post offices (PTPOs).
Note that this does not include mail drop-off locations (i.e., blue US Mail boxes), annexes with no public hours, automated postal centers (APCs), or contract postal units (CPUs) that do not have their own zip code.
USPS.com’s Find Locations tool is the best source for post offices.
USPS has undergone some restructuring as part of its network rationalization efforts in the last decade. As a result, the terminology used to describe USPS location types has also changed.
Current USPS location types include:
Contract Postal Unit*
Village Post Office*
*Of these location types, we’re only collecting post offices, contract postal units (only if they have their own designated zip code), and village post offices.
As you’re editing post offices, you may come across points using USPS’s older naming conventions. When you encounter these points, be sure to update their names to match what’s currently listed on USPS.com. Below is a list of some of the older naming conventions you might encounter:
Post Office Stations and Branch Post Offices: USPS no longer uses naming conventions to distinguish between stations and branch post offices. What were formerly referred to as substations or branches are now referred to simply as post offices. For example, what was known as the Mobile Post Office Spring Hill Station is now just the Spring Hill Post Office. Similarly, what was known as the Tucson Post Office Casas Adobes Branch is now just the Casas Adobes Post Office.
Automated Postal Centers: What was referred to as an Automated Postal Center is now more commonly known as a Self-Service Kiosk; USPS uses the terms interchangeably. We still are not collecting APCs or self-service kiosks so if you encounter any points representing these, please document your findings in the ‘Comment’ field and delete the point.
Community Post Offices: Community post offices (CPOs) were a type of contract postal unit (CPU) according to several organizations closely affiliated with USPS (e.g., Post Mark Collector’s Club and American Postal Workers Union Iowa). USPS no longer uses the community post office terminology in its naming conventions; these facilities may have either been reclassified as regular post offices or were consolidated as part of USPS’s network rationalization efforts. For instance, Ookala Post Office – CPO is now just the Ookala Post Office but Richwood Post Office – CPO is no longer listed in USPS’s system. If you encounter points representing CPOs, be sure to check if it still exists. If it is still operational, update its name to match USPS.com.
Post Office Express: Post Office Express locations are classified as Post Offices under USPS’s new terminology but still bear the “POE” naming convention. As noted in this Q&A, POE locations are quite rare.
Proper Point Placement
If a point is in the wrong location, do not delete and recreate the point. Instead, click and drag it to the correct building.
Our November 2017 newsletter includes an article on aerial interpretation for post offices. This article walks you through the process of using aerial imagery to find the correct building on which to place a point.
If you have any questions during the mapping process, reach out to us at email@example.com and someone will be happy to assist! Thank you for all that you do, and happy mapping!