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Geo-Targeting with ZipCodeMap

Posted by bcmoney on October 5, 2008 in E-Commerce, Web Services with 3 Comments

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The web is an incredibly diverse and unpredictable place for doing business. Whether you are trying to build an online business, or merely provide a useful service that you hope many will enjoy and use regularly, understanding your user-base is perhaps one of the most important aspects of success and longevity in this challenging and constantly changing industry.

Audiences are becoming increasingly fragmented, and since the internet connects every nation, your web site, web application or web service can potentially reach any one of the 1.6 Billion+ internet users who either enjoy an always-on connection of their own, or know how to find one. So as an engineer, developer or webmaster, how can you reach out to these increasingly diverse, increasingly fragmented audiences?

One of the best places to start, as it turns out, may very well be a new field of research known as Geo-Targeting.

Acting as a solution for slicing and dicing your visitors based on their location, Geo-Targeting is quickly becoming an increasingly important, if not critical core competency for any webmaster, software developer or system engineer exploring the web as a distribution/communication medium. While there are a number of possible architectures or solutions, it is essentially accomplished by matching the origin IP of your visitors, to a database which maps IP addresses to Zip Codes, and then (using the same DB, or another to map) Zip Codes to Cities. You can think of it as doing a reverse-lookup where you know the telephone number, but can’t remember who it belongs to (except here we are dealing with IP addresses, not phone numbers).

You can build an excellent, enterprise-grade Geo-Targeting solution by combining a GeoIP script with the zip/area code database available from ZipCodeGuy:

zip code map

Even the free database includes an enormous well of information featuring zip codes for every major municipal area in the United States, including:

  • every state
  • every city
  • every county
  • EVERY postal code

Whether you are just beginning to work with zip codes, shipping products, doing zip code lookups, want to build maps of your incoming users, provide Behavioral Targeting (BT), serve ads more dynamically, are looking into Location Based Sevices (LBS), wanting to perform customization based on your user’s location, or even if you’ve just noticed that your traffic is going up or becoming more diverse, and you want to understand it a little better… you should definitely check this database out!

How’s that for a run-on sentence? Seriously though, this database has got everything you need to get started with Geo-Targeting and develop a personal relationship with your users/customers. Some of the things you can begin to offer after the investment of just a few hours into this new Geo-Targeting area are:

  • Multi-Lingual redirects based on geography
  • Different cultural or design principles presented to the user, based on geographic location
  • Special offers based on proximity to a given location
  • Customized Delivery/Order processing
  • Advertisements that adapt and change based on a user’s location

So what are you waiting for? Go, check it out now!

As a bonus, here’s the HTML code for dropdown which can be used for selecting a Street Type, along with North American Regions (i.e. Provinces and States):

<select id="street_type" name="streetType">
    <option selected="" value="-1">Select Street Type</option>
	<option value="10">Abbey</option>
	<option value="11">Acres</option>
	<option value="12">Allée</option>
	<option value="13">Alley</option>
	<option value="14">Autoroute</option>
	<option value="16">Avenue</option>
	<option value="15">Avenue</option>
	<option value="17">Bay</option>
	<option value="18">Beach</option>
	<option value="19">Bend</option>
	<option value="501">Bluff</option>
	<option value="21">Boulevard</option>
	<option value="20">Boulevard</option>
	<option value="22">By-pass</option>
	<option value="23">Byway</option>
	<option value="24">Campus</option>
	<option value="25">Cape</option>
	<option value="26">Carré</option>
	<option value="27">Carrefour</option>
	<option value="502">Causeway</option>
	<option value="29">Centre</option>
	<option value="28">Centre</option>
	<option value="30">Cercle</option>
	<option value="31">Chase</option>
	<option value="4">Chemin</option>
	<option value="32">Circle</option>
	<option value="33">Circuit</option>
	<option value="34">Close</option>
	<option value="35">Common</option>
	<option value="36">Concession</option>
	<option value="37">Corners</option>
	<option value="38">Côte</option>
	<option value="6">Cour</option>
	<option value="5">Court</option>
	<option value="39">Cove</option>
	<option value="40">Crescent</option>
	<option value="41">Croissant</option>
	<option value="503">Cross</option>
	<option value="42">Crossing</option>
	<option value="43">Cul-de-sac</option>
	<option value="44">Dale</option>
	<option value="45">Dell</option>
	<option value="46">Diversion</option>
	<option value="47">Downs</option>
	<option value="48">Drive</option>
	<option value="49">Échangeur</option>
	<option value="50">End</option>
	<option value="51">Esplanade</option>
	<option value="52">Esplanade</option>
	<option value="53">Estate(s)</option>
	<option value="504">Evergreen</option>
	<option value="54">Expressway</option>
	<option value="55">Extension</option>
	<option value="56">Farm</option>
	<option value="57">Field</option>
	<option value="58">Forest</option>
	<option value="59">Freeway</option>
	<option value="60">Front</option>
	<option value="61">Garden(s)</option>
	<option value="62">Gate</option>
	<option value="63">Glade</option>
	<option value="64">Glen</option>
	<option value="65">Green</option>
	<option value="66">Grounds</option>
	<option value="67">Grove</option>
	<option value="68">Harbour</option>
	<option value="69">Heights</option>
	<option value="70">Highlands</option>
	<option value="7">Highway</option>
	<option value="71">Hill</option>
	<option value="72">Hollow</option>
	<option value="73">Île</option>
	<option value="74">Impasse</option>
	<option value="75">Island</option>
	<option value="76">Key</option>
	<option value="77">Knoll</option>
	<option value="78">Landing</option>
	<option value="79">Lane</option>
	<option value="80">Limits</option>
	<option value="81">Line</option>
	<option value="82">Link</option>
	<option value="83">Lookout</option>
	<option value="84">Loop</option>
	<option value="85">Mall</option>
	<option value="86">Manor</option>
	<option value="87">Maze</option>
	<option value="88">Meadow(s)</option>
	<option value="89">Mews</option>
	<option value="90">Montée</option>
	<option value="91">Moor</option>
	<option value="92">Mount</option>
	<option value="93">Mountain</option>
	<option value="94">Orchard</option>
	<option value="95">Parade</option>
	<option value="96">Parc</option>
	<option value="97">Park</option>
	<option value="98">Parkway</option>
	<option value="99">Passage</option>
	<option value="100">Path</option>
	<option value="101">Pathway</option>
	<option value="102">Pines</option>
	<option value="103">Place</option>
	<option value="104">Place</option>
	<option value="105">Plateau</option>
	<option value="106">Plaza</option>
	<option value="107">Point</option>
	<option value="108">Port</option>
	<option value="109">Private</option>
	<option value="110">Promenade</option>
	<option value="111">Promenade</option>
	<option value="143">Quay</option>
	<option value="112">Quay</option>
	<option value="113">Rang</option>
	<option value="114">Range</option>
	<option value="115">Ridge</option>
	<option value="116">Rise</option>
	<option value="3">Road</option>
	<option value="505">Roadway</option>
	<option value="117">Rond-point</option>
	<option value="8">Route</option>
	<option value="118">Row</option>
	<option value="2">Rue</option>
	<option value="119">Ruelle</option>
	<option value="120">Run</option>
	<option value="121">Sentier</option>
	<option value="122">Square</option>
	<option value="1">Street</option>
	<option value="123">Subdivision</option>
	<option value="124">Terrace</option>
	<option value="125">Terrasse</option>
	<option value="126">Thicket</option>
	<option value="506">Throughway</option>
	<option value="127">Towers</option>
	<option value="128">Townline</option>
	<option value="129">Trail</option>
	<option value="507">Turn</option>
	<option value="130">Turnabout</option>
	<option value="131">Vale</option>
	<option value="132">Via</option>
	<option value="133">Via</option>
	<option value="134">View</option>
	<option value="135">Village</option>
	<option value="136">Vista</option>
	<option value="137">Voie</option>
	<option value="138">Walk</option>
	<option value="139">Way</option>
	<option value="508">Westway</option>
	<option value="140">Wharf</option>
	<option value="141">Wood</option>
	<option value="142">Wynd</option>

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