Geographic Information Systems Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for cartographers, geographers and GIS professionals. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

Esri provide a sample ArcGIS Server instance which contains states, block groups, etc.

Is there a similar publicly-accessible ArcGIS Server instance anywhere which contains US zip codes?

share|improve this question
In what context? Are you looking to perform geocoding of your data? Or do you need to bind your data with zip code data? If you can give a little more context, we might be able to help easier. Cheers – Hairy Jan 30 '12 at 14:16
@Hairy good point, I'm looking for a sample map server so that I can add zipcode boundaries to a map as a FeatureLayer – Stephen Lead Jan 30 '12 at 20:40
I can only find paid for data sources, as I assumed you wanted the data. In short, I dont think you can access this data, without first purchasing it. – Hairy Jan 30 '12 at 20:42
@hairy do you want to put that as an answer, and I'll mark it as closed off. Thanks – Stephen Lead Feb 3 '12 at 8:14
Ok Stephen, no worries. – Hairy Feb 3 '12 at 9:20
up vote 4 down vote accepted

Using google, searching for strings that appear on the service description page, I found this layer in the national map.

share|improve this answer
I always seem to forget that the services from them are out there; need to add that to me reference list again. – D.E.Wright Feb 3 '12 at 16:59
thanks Kirk, that's a good trick to know – Stephen Lead Feb 4 '12 at 5:18
Can yuo access this without issue Kirk? The layers I looked at allowed a certain amount of visits a year. I may be wrong, but isn't this like ESRI's geocoding in that you can only use it sparingley in effect to test? – Hairy Feb 4 '12 at 8:10
No issues accessing it from Texas. It is part of the US National Map, maybe they limit foreign access? What indication did you see that there's a limit on visits? – Kirk Kuykendall Feb 4 '12 at 15:11

If ZIP Code Tabulation Areas (ZCTAs) are good enough for your needs, the Census Bureau provides the 2000 and 2010 versions on their TIGER/Line download site. The Census Bureau sums up their reason for not having official ZIP Code boundaries nicely:

The Census Bureau does not have maps or digital files showing the boundaries of U.S. Postal Service ZIP Codes. The fact that ZIP Codes aren't required to be polygons makes them difficult to map. They are networks of streets served by mail carriers or just individual post offices and are a tool for mail delivery. They also change periodically as required to meet Post Office operational needs. Various companies have created maps by interpolating boundaries between occurrences of ZIP Codes on the ground. However, this does not guarantee that the U.S. Postal Service delivery routes will follow this interpretation. [Source]

share|improve this answer
Thanks - but in this case I need an ArcGIS Server map service to play with (rather than the raw data), as I don't currently have access to an ArcGIS Server to make my own service. – Stephen Lead Feb 4 '12 at 1:07
Ah, sorry about that. Didn't read the question carefully enough. Hopefully this answer can help people in the future with similar questions. – nmpeterson Feb 5 '12 at 17:06

I can only find paid for data sources, as I assumed you wanted the data. In short, I dont think you can access this data, without first purchasing it.

Sorry it can't be a better answer. As an aside, there's movement in teh UK to make this kind of data free, as we, as tax payers, have paid for its development. I for one am not holding my breath...

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.