Posts Tagged ‘usps’

The postal service as geographic DNS (Orange Cone)

Monday, June 7th, 2010

envelope_-_boonville_address-small

[Editor's note: The 2010 Census Address Canvassing does this already for 145 million residential address, thus proving the concept could be expanded to include commercial addresses. I'm always curious about the accuracy and precision of geocoders. How about "front door" instead of rooftop (which often just means parcel centroid)! ;) Thanks Michal!]

Republished from Orange Cone.
By Mike Kuniavsky.

I was recently at a bar with a bunch of other technology designers. The conversation turned to the postal service.

Problem: the US Postal Service is in financial trouble

America’s postal service was partially privatized in the 1980s, so it needs to make about as much money as it costs to operate if it’s to survive. It’s having a difficult time doing that and has lost billions of dollars per year for the last several years, borrowing from the federal government to stay afloat. As the second-largest civilian employer in the US after Wal-Mart (that’s a sobering statistic in itself, on several levels), this means that it has quite a bit of overhead, while being at the receiving end of two technologically-induced competitive challenges:

  • Casual letters have largely been replaced by email
  • And package delivery has to compete with FedEx, UPS, DHL

Moreover, these other delivery services don’t necessarily have to honor the post office’s mandated responsibility to deliver mail to anywhere in the US (this is called the “universal service obligation”).

Proposal: the Postal Service should become the geographic DNS….

Here’s what I came up with in the bar: the US Postal Service (USPS) needs to become the equivalent of the Domain Name Service for geographic locations. DNS is the digital service that translates human-readable domain names such as orangecone.com into IP addresses, such as 168.75.111.15. This, more or less, is exactly what the USPS already does, but it’s still tied to the sender writing the actual physical address on the letter. However, as any recipient of a slightly mis-addressed letter that still arrived knows, the service is actually pretty good at figuring out where the letter is going. The USPS is already resolving ambiguous address data into physical locations. It’s been doing it for years.

Continue reading at Orange Cone . . .

The Google Map Envelope (Unplggd)

Thursday, February 18th, 2010

[Editor's note: Netflix can't save the USPS alone! Use a Google Maps map envelope to update your grandparents and save snail mail! Thanks Sebastian.]

Republished from Unplgged.

It seems like 99 percent of the mail we send is electronic these days. The other 1 percent is letters and postcards that we want to postmark with our (usually enviable) location for the recipient. That’s why we dig these uber-accurate Google Maps envelopes. Now we can say Hello from 100 Holomoana Street, Honolulu, HI, 96815!

USPS Eames Stamps (Door 16)

Wednesday, November 19th, 2008

[Editor's note: My local post office seems to be out of these awesome stamps celebrating Charles and Ray Eames. I also include here the video they produced called "Powers of 10". This is a must see film explaining the concept of scale in visual terms, starting with a couple picnicking on the Chicago lakeshore, zooming out progressively to the starts (10 to the positive exponent), and then in to the subatomic level (10 to the negative exponent).]

Republished from Door Sixteen. ( 1 | 2 )

These stamps were designed by the remarkable Derry Noyes, who design many of the stamps for the US Post Office. The first inklings of this possibility were 10 or 12 years ago when we (I am wearing my Eames Office hat here) first answered a request for research images.

There is a wonderful familial connection there, as Derry is the daughter of Eli Noyes, who was an extremely close friend of Charles and Ray’s and the director of design at IBM.

Slowly over this time period it blossomed to a full on set of 16 stamps to celebrate the richness of Charles and Ray’s work. We see the Eames House, La Chaise, the Lounge Chair, Crosspatch, House of Cards, the film Tops and more.

Just think: How many Toys are on stamps? How many short films? This is just a great thing.