Countries throughout the world use a postal code map in their postal stations. These maps are compiled for each country, state, country, and region and are kept in a centralized location where they are scanned into scanning machines that are used in postal stations throughout the world.
The kinds of scanners that are used for postal stations are often very large. Letters are collected from villages, towns, and small cities and transported to large, centralized distribution centers where the scanners read bar codes that have been placed on envelopes and parcels.
Many of these scanners also are made to reach the handwritten numbers and letters on envelopes. These letters are often more difficult for the scanner to read appropriately and, when it is not possible to discern the number or letter, the machine passes the letter or parcel to a human for review. The individual reviewing the letter will then direct the item to its appropriate distribution point.
People will find a postal station in almost every small town or city. Mail is distributed to, and collected from, the residents of the town. In most cases the mail is collected by services on a daily basis and transferred to the centralized station where it is sorted and shipped to distribution points in other regions.
The main scanning machines that are used in centralized stations are very large. When mail is dumped on the link chain conveyor it moves very quickly through an ever narrowing group of sorters that lead to the main point for scanning. As the mail is scanned, it is then directed to bins for local, national, and international distribution. When hand written letters or numbers cannot be read, the scanner sends the letters to a human who has a small handheld scanner. The code on the letter is scanned with the handheld scanner and the data is transmitted to the main computer. This allows the main scanner to read the numbers and letters when they come through again.
When the wrong postal code is placed on a parcel, it can be directed to the wrong country very easily. Many people put codes on their letters they are unsure of, when this occurs the letter or parcel can be missing for several years before it finally is returned or ends up at the correct address.
Scanning machines use a global postal code map that is built in to the hard drive of the system and updated regularly. An individual who does not put a postal code on a parcel will find that the postal station will put a label with the correct postal code on it so that the parcel will be sent to the proper location.
In many cases people are able to get maps that contain postal codes for their region or area. However, some large regions have several codes for cities and use many maps simultaneously in their distribution centers.
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