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April 29, 2022

Since our last post offices challenge was such a hit, we thought we’d launch another one for 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 

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. 

TNMCorps Mapping Challenge: Post Offices in Virginia, West Virginia, and Maryland (04/28/22)
A map of all post offices in Virginia, West Virginia, and Maryland as of 4/28/22. Red points have never been edited before. Green points have been edited and are awaiting review from a Peer Reviewer or Advanced Editor. Yellow points may appear as yellow, purple, or blue in the editor; these points have been reviewed and are finished. Of the 2,042 points on this map, all but 29 are yellow.


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. 

TNMCorps Mapping Challenge: Post Offices in Virginia, West Virginia, and Maryland with No Edit History (04/28/22)
A map of all post offices in Virginia, West Virginia, and Maryland as of 4/28/22. Gray points represent post offices with no edit history. Almost 65% of the points on this map are gray, meaning most of the post offices have no edit history. Therefore, all post offices throughout these states are participating in this challenge.  

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.

TNMCorps Point Border Colors










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.  


Possible Sources  

  1.’s Find Locations tool is the best source for post offices. 


Naming Convention 

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:  

  • Post Office* 

  • Collection Box 

  • Contract Postal Unit* 

  • gopost® 

  • National Retailer 

  • Self-Service Kiosks 

  • 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 Below is a list of some of the older naming conventions you might encounter: 


Proper Point Placement 

  1. If a point is in the wrong location, do not delete and recreate the point. Instead, click and drag it to the correct building.  

  1. 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 and someone will be happy to assist!  Thank you for all that you do, and happy mapping! 

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