On May 9, the Postal Service released POStPlan, its new plan for small rural post offices. The plan will impact 13,000 post offices.
Over the coming months, the Postal Service will begin holding community meetings to discuss the options: replace the post office with a “village post office” (a postal counter in a private business), close the post office and switch to rural delivery, or keep the post office open at reduced hours — two, four, or six hours per day, depending on the office’s revenues. Full-time career postmasters will be replaced by part-time workers at these part-time offices.
Google makes it possible to sort, filter, analyze, chart, and map the list in many ways. There are several options and features, so here’s a guide to help you get started.
1. See and modify the map: Go to the POStPlan map. (You may need to click-drag and zoom the map a bit.)
(Blue = 6 hours; yellow = 4; red = 2) Click on a marker for more details.
To change what the map shows, under “View,” select “Filter.” You can apply filters that will allow you to select a particular state, ZIP code prefix, hours of operation, etc. For example, you can filter for State = TX, click on “Apply,” and the map will show only the post offices in Texas. If you filter by state, remember to use the state’s two-letter abbreviation.
2. Modify the table: Under “Visualize,” select “Table,” then under “View,” select “Filter.” As with the map, you can apply a filter to see a state list, a 3-digit zip code prefix, etc. You can also add layers of filters by clicking on “Add Condition.” (If you want to get back to the Map, you may need to clear your filters.)
3. Analyze the data: Under “Visualize,” select “Table,” then under “View,” select “Aggregate.” This will allow you to process the data in various ways. For example, where it says, “Show aggregate,” click on “sum” for both Current and Proposed Retail Hours, and for “Aggregated by” click on State. Then click on apply. This will generate a state-by-state list of the current and proposed hours of operation. Copy the data to an Excel table, and you can produce a table with headers like:
- Number of Impacted Post offices
- Current Retail Hours per Day
- Proposed Retail Hours per Day
- Percent Reduction in Hours
4. Make a chart: Under “Visualize,” select “Table,” then under “View,” select “Aggregate.” Under Aggregated by, select “Proposed Retail Hours.” Under “Visualize,” select “Pie,” then for “entity” choose Proposed Retail Hours and for Value choose Count. This will produce a pie chart showing the breakdown. You can also filter for a particular state, etc. For example, see how the 317 post offices on the list in Nebraska would be affected.
5. Embed in your website: In most modes of visualization, there’s an option for getting the “embeddable” code, if you want to locate a map, table, or chart in your website. You can create a map, for example, of just one state. Be sure to zoom and center the map on the area that you want to appear on your website.
6. Map one office: When you’re in Table view, hover your mouse/cursor just to the left of the name of the post office. Two icons should appear — select the one that looks like a globe. A map should appear in a pop-up window. Adjust the zoom, and you will see a marker indicating the general area of this post office.
This map uses zip codes, not street addresses, so it’s just a general location.
- Post Offices to Remain Open (wbng.com)
- Postal Service Stalls Closure of Urban Stations (kcrg.com)
- U.S. Postal Service cancels plans to close hundreds of suburban, urban post offices (cbsnews.com)