Enhancing maps,gps based navigation in India using pincode

Has Pin code lost it’s purpose in 2013 in this digital world at least in urban India?  Pin code were primarily used in India for delivering letters/courier and is still very popular in the rural areas though advancement in telecommunications with onset of mobile has reduced its popularity to great extent thus in 2013 , it has little or no relevance.

Most of us would have faced this situation of explaining our residence address to family or friends or cab drivers. It is last mile route  that is difficult to find and it takes around 2-3 calls to find the exact location.

In India , we always rely on the passer-by help for  finding the address especially in smaller streets for which maps are not that good. During  rain or late nights , we hardly find people on the road and finding address becomes difficult.In many instances one need to come out  of the house, stand on the road  and guide the people who are on the phone in other end.

Even with the advent of GPS and Google maps along with explosion of smartphones at various price ranges , locating and navigating to specific address is not quite easy.Google Maps solves the problem to some extent.One option is to search and  save the address by browsing through maps  and then navigate easily.

With Google Maps , it’s easier to search common point of interest likes restaurant and other common land marks  but not individual house or small establishment etc.

Using  Pin code in GPS for navigation

In UK , I was surprised to see how efficiently zip code was being used to locate an address in gps or google maps .To find destination, all one needs is zip code. Upon entering zip code , device shows around 50 listings of door numbers/road names combinations ,within which one of them would most probably  be destination address.Choose the required address and we are good to go. No mess in trying to try the street name or location name and getting multiple search results. It’s as simple as that.

Now the same thing cannot be used in India . For one pin code , we may have hundreds of door number or many street names that results in more number of listings and it becomes difficult to choose address  properly. Also new street names and address are not updated regularly.

It would be a good idea to read this post about the difficulties faced by start ups in India while trying to bring in GPS solution from the west  to India as is.

Extending pin code format 

So how do we solve this problem to making sure the last mile connectivity to destination is a breeze ?

How about extending the existing pin code to have two more characters and each unique combinations will have not more than 25  or 50 door numbers .Specifics and detail on what can be the limiting criteria can always be decided.

So instead of  a pin code 600073 , it would be 600073AB where AB will point to narrowed area which not more than 50 door numbers/street names combinations

So if the address is Door No.27, Shastri Road,Kamarajapuram, Chennai , upon entering the pin code in gps device or maps , the search listing  would display results containing Shastri Road and few more roads with proper door numbers listed properly. It doesn’t matter if destination is individual house or apartment complex or shopping mall,  it can be reached quite easily.

There are some complexities that needs to be addressed. Some times the address is too long and it becomes difficult to load in GPS device.These kind of scenarios need to be properly considering during design.

Concise pincode 

8 digit pincode may be bit long. It could be redundant when all the travelling is happening within the same city? To navigate within same city , first 3 digits of pincode is not needed since they are same.Use the last 3 digits with an extended 2 digits to track the destination.

So instead of 600073AB , it can be as simple as 073AB and for outside city, use the 8 digit full pincode.

Post Offices can help in mapping activities 

Reason why using pin codes instead of coming up with totally new system from scratch is that the information is nearly 70% complete and properly mapped.But the remaining mapping can be best done by respective post offices who have good deeper insight into address combinations.This extensive mapping  can be a time-consuming complex task but once completed , will be quite useful.

Refreshing address periodically 

In India , there are frequent changes to roads and new buildings that  tend to come up but they are not properly managed and reflected in all places . To manage this situation , the mapping of new streets or houses can be done during registration/planning or approval phase so that the database can be  refreshed and always updated.

So next time to help friend in finding your house , just inform the extended pin code , door and street number , they should be knocking door easily without making any calls.

Let me know what do you think about it the idea!


3 thoughts on “Enhancing maps,gps based navigation in India using pincode

  1. Pin Code India says:

    True, this information of identifying areas is very useful. Finding address in India is a challenge and everyone has to certainly call the resident couple of times to reach a destination first time.

  2. support says:

    Dear All
    if any one required GIS Maps of postal code Boundary map of India/or Post office locations (155000+) of India please visit to www,mapsolutions.in

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