Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Code Kata : Parse USPS ZIP3 table


The USPS ZIP codes have a multi-part structure. The first three digits are a prefix that defines a sectional center facility.

The USPS table L005 3-Digit ZIP Code Prefix Groups—SCF Sortation maps clusters of ZIP3 prefixes to Facility and State codes. The following URL has this table.

Your Job

Your job is to write a library module that does two things:

1. Read and parses this table.

2. Support ZIP-code lookup (ZIP3, ZIP, ZIP+4) to return SCF and State information.

Some Notes

Finding and parsing the table is often done in Python with components like Beautiful Soup. Equivalents aren't available in all languages. You might want to copy and paste this table into a spreadsheet application, and save it as a CSV file, which is much easier to work with than HTML.

There's a regular format to the ZIP3 ranges that makes parsing them relatively simple.

The SCF names, however, have two different formats. Some have names that begin with SCF. Others have names that don't begin with SCF. Be careful to handle each version correctly.