[clug] Aust. Postcode mapping data

Francis Markham fmarkham at gmail.com
Fri Apr 10 00:11:35 GMT 2009


Exact post code data is hard to come by because it is not managed by the
ABS, but by Aus Post.  Thus, it does not fit properly into the standard
Australian Standard Geographical Classification
defines the areas which data is available for.

The ASGC is made up of nested areal units, going from smallest to largest:

   - Census Collection District (CD);
   - Statistical Local Area (SLA);
   - Statistical Subdivision (SSD);
   - Statistical Division (SD);
   - State and Territory (S/T);
   - Statistical District (S Dist);
   - Local Government Area (LGA);
   - Statistical Region Sector (SRS);
   - Statistical Region (SR);
   - Major Statistical Region (MSR);

A CD is about 225 houses, and corresponds to the area collected by one
census collector - SLAs roughly correspond to suburbs.

Post codes are outside this ASGC, and do not nest with CDs.  However, for
each collection district the ABS have a measure called postal areas (POAs)
which are an approximation of post codes.  This approximation is created by
choosing the post code which covers the majority of the CD.  These POAs are
available for download in common GIS vector formats (MIF and shapefile) from

I don't know what data types the Google Maps API supports, but it should be
trivial to convert between them (ANU has ArcGIS licences on all DOI Windows
machines).  It is important to understand this is not an exact match for
Australia Post postal codes (as well as the boundaries being not quite
right, it also doesn't include post office boxes, etc.), but it is pretty

If that data is too detailed for your use, the ABS has released a
"concordance" product which approximately maps SLAs to post codes and back,
with an estimate of error

Hope that helps, have a nice day.


2009/4/9 Andrew Loughhead <andrew.loughhead at gmail.com>

> The openstreetmap-au list had some talk about an ok, unencumbered source of
> postcode data, maybe the ABS, and the import of that into OSM, a few months
> ago.  I unsub'd about then. List archives
> http://lists.openstreetmap.org/pipermail/talk-au/ appear to have lots of
> mentions of "postcode".  The main map also has some dotted lines now which
> might be postcode boundaries, but I don't think the actual postcode value is
> tagged in the relation, at least for the bit I glanced at.
> Pretty sure there are some active OSMers on the clug list too, who may know
> more.
> Robert Edwards wrote:
>> Somewhat OT - sorry.
>> Anyone know of a good free source of Aust. postcode mapping
>> data that can be used to make web maps. Is there such a source?
>> Should I be looking at Google Maps, ABS or somewhere else?
>> Cheers,
>> Bob Edwards.
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