Every year when I send out Christmas cards I want to know where they travel. I have an idea I send the most to the states in which I have lived, but without a visual representation I don’t feel like I really *know*. Yes, I have a total on a spreadsheet (how did you know?), but I like a picture. And that started me thinking through how I could represent this event graphically. Here are some neat tools I found while I was investigating a graphical representation.


(1) Check out a visual on postal zip codes by Ben Fry. This interactive visual allows you to enter a zip code and see the area covered by this number. Try entering the first digit of your zip code and then check out all the possible second digits to get an idea of the code distribution.


(2) Wolfram Alpha Widgets – Zip Code Tools

This is a neat widget which can correlate the zip codes with counties, area codes. However it still wasn’t what I was looking for. Since I am a fan of most Wolfram Alpha things I meet I did install the Wolfram|Alpha Widget Shortcode on my WordPress site so that I could play with further items I find.

[wolframalphawidget id=”fcc7fbed7c7c66964a52463e7498ad91″ theme=”teal”]

(3) For more fun you can compare zip codes:

Wolfram Alpha Compare Zip Codes








(4) BatchGeo looked pretty good, but the spreadsheet requirements were more than I already had, so I opted to keep looking for something I could just use the zip codes I had to create something.


In the end I had to gather the zip codes and move them up one more level to the state name:

state name value
Michigan 49319, 49343, 49341, 49546, 49519, 49426, 49454 22
Colorado 80233 1
Georgia 30680, 32244, 30815, 30548, 30542, 38556, 30549 9
Texas 75474, 75034 2
Vermont 05672 1
Florida 32934 1
Tennessee 38556 1


(5) I used the table above in OpenHeatMap to create the below graphic:



Not only embed code, but share function includes email and all the social networks.


If you are like me and looking for a neat way to represent this type of data – I suggest OpenHeatMap.

And I would also like Christmas cards, so get on it already!