Postcode coverage mapping

Javier Luque, lead GIS expert at the General Directorate for the Cadastre of Spain, has prepared and conducted the last of the seven training actions planned during the downtime period resulting from the COVID pandemic.

The online seminar was held on July 21 and 22; the agenda of the training event is available on the project’s extranet.


The assignment of postal codes in Spain corresponds is the responsibility the state-owned enterprise Correos (The Post Office), which defines them alphanumerically.

Correos, with the help of the National Geographic Institute of Spain, took this definition to the map of Postal Codes as enclosures that include postal addresses.

The cadastre uses the map of postal codes to assign the postal code to its addresses and check that the assignment is correct.

But, in addition, these enclosures allow adding cadastral data and offer different kinds of statistical data.

Something similar is done with the districts and sections of the population census that also provide for spatial analyses and data grouping.

The advent of postcodes: a brief review

During the first session, Javier Luque reviewed the history of implementing postcode systems in different countries. The first country to implement a postal code system was Ukraine in 1932. In general, this is a relatively recent introduction in the world. The majority of contemporary postcode systems were implemented between the 50s and 80s of the last century.

See the presentation

The postcode system of Spain

In the following session, the Spanish postal code system was reviewed in detail. Postal codes were introduced in Spain in the early 1980s, coinciding with the implementation of automated mail-sorting procedures.

They were basically created to automate the sorting of stacks and to facilitate postal distribution.

The Correos, a state-owned public company, is in charge of managing postal codes. Other bodies involved in postcode management are the National Institute of Statistics, local councils and the General Directorate for the Cadastre.

Generating a post code coverage

In order to generate a post code coverage, Javier Luque showed in a practical example how to do it using two tools available on the Internet – QGIS and FME. FME is one of the so-called ETL tools: extraction, transformation and export (loading). One of the examples obtained in the session is the representation of post codes of the province of Madrid.

Using spatial analysis

We can define spatial analysis as an approach to applying statistical analysis and other analytical techniques to data that have a geographic or spatial aspect. Such analysis typically employs software that can produce maps that process spatial data and apply analytical methods to terrestrial or geographic data sets, including the use of geographic information systems.

The use of such techniques is now increasingly popular in data-driven decision-making by managers in both the public and private sectors.

Hands-on spatial analysis…

Javier Luque showed in a practical example how to analyze data on population, the type of building, types of property by framing them in a territorial geospatial layer: The Province of Madrid, land plots, postal codes and census districts. In each case the information was taken from different providers: the Cadastre, the Institute of Statistics, the Post Office (Correos), etc…

See presentation…

Access to video sessions…


In this training action folder you will find all the documentation used in the different sessions.

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