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Thursday, February 3, 2011

Zip codes, postal codes, states, counties, countries of the world!

Surprisingly, it is very hard to find a good download of zip/postal codes, states, countries, etc.  Many places charge for this up to date information.  Where I work, there is often an excel file being emailed around the office with zip codes that were harvested from some other system that we dump into clients' systems.  It's sort of a copy-paste mash of different countries that we've slowly built and it's mostly there.

Well a somewhat unknown site that is available under a creative commons attribute license that is incredibly comprehensive is GeoNames.org.

What I did is go to:

Grab the latest allCountries.zip, import into excel (tab delimited), then throw some filters on there and use it as your master country/zip/state/county/etc list.

The site is a little difficult to navigate and they have many giant data dumps...for example, there are two "allCountries.zip" files I've come across.  One has the good stuff (ISO country, zip, state, county, etc), and the other has stuff that I can't really find a use for (population, elevation, etc).

Hope this saves somebody else a headache when they get a client who does business globally!

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