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I have 613 post codes covering the UK, stored as an Excel file. I need to plot them - preferably all at once - in ArcMap (ArcView, 9.3). The post codes are 5 figures (e.g. BT19 6).

Is there a quick way of doing this? Currently I'm using Arc's search tool to find the post code, plot a point, and convert those points to a shapefile. However, with over 600 to plot, this will take an age.

I don't really have any experience of Geocoding, but I'm assuming this is the way to go?

Any advice is greatly appreciated!

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Note: BT postcodes are in Irish National Grid.... and non BT postcodes are in Birtish National Grid. See (but image now missing) – Mapperz Feb 10 '12 at 14:46

You could use freely available Code-Point® Open dataset from Ordnance urvey (available from here):

Code-Point Open provides a precise geographic location for each postcode unit in Great Britain. The product is a CSV file containing postcodes, grid references, NHS® health and regional health authority codes, administrative ward, district, county and country area codes.

It will provide you with csv file of postcodes' (centroid I think) Eastings and Northings from which you can create XY feature class.

Note: These are actually separate files for each one of the postcode areas in UK. You can quickly merge them into one file from command line using:


Then you could merge your postcodes to that dataset to keep only relevant postcodes.

Bear in mind that postcodes in UK are 'living things' - they do change in time, so make sure to check if that is the case for any of the postcodes from you data. And make sure to review Ordnance Survey's licence for the data.

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Thanks for the tip Radek. I have the OS CodePoint data, and thought maybe I could do a simple table join. However, only 164 of the 613 records were successfully matched. I only downloaded the OS CodePoint data this morning, so perhaps my other post codes (that I am joining to) are out-dated...? – the_bonze Feb 10 '12 at 14:28

The easiset way is to download the

Code-Point Open (November 2011)

from here in WGS84 (Lat/Lng)

This is legal because it is using the Open Data from Ordnance Survey.

Make sure your postcodes are formatted exactly right 'SW1 1AA' and 'SW1A AAA' so you get an much better match. Depending on your [Excel] source old postcodes will not exist anymore.

so you will have to find out - example old OX8 is now two different postcodes sectors OX28 and OX29.

The next postcode update will be March 2012

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Thank you Mapperz. I think out-dated post codes is my issue here. I have triple-checked the formatting, and I'm still getting low matches. The post codes I'm using were gathered as part of a survey in 2010 - it seems odd that nearly 500 would have changed in 2 years? – the_bonze Feb 10 '12 at 14:59
Yes, there can be many new postcodes, a new housing developments affect postcode sectors and need to be divided up. Cambridge postcodes had a complete new revamp. CB2 > CB21 and CB24 and many more. – Mapperz Feb 10 '12 at 15:04
Ah OK thank you. Your help is greatly appreciated! – the_bonze Feb 10 '12 at 15:26

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