What is a Post Office?
The authoritative list for Post Offices is the US Postal Service website. On this website there is a link to the Find Locations web page
where you can do a search for a particular post office.
There are quite a few types of Location Types you can choose from, but the USGS guidelines stipulate that only official USPS facilities should be included in the National Structures dataset: this translates to the PostOffices and
office, Village PostOffices
office, and Contract Postal Units location types. To do a search foronly
three types, select “Post Offices and Approved Postal Providers” from the Location Types list and then click on the Refine search link, and then make sure that only Post Officesand
, Village PostOffices
offices, and Contract Postal Units are checked.
This restricted definition means that many locations that sell stamps or have only automated postal centers or only participate in the PO Box Online program, such as markets, banks, and office and mailing supply stores and other types of Contract Postal Units, do not qualify as Post Offices for the National Structures dataset.To be sure that a location is an official Post Office, search for it at the USPS website using the search criteria described above. Another indication of an official Post Office is that all Post Offices are required to fly the US Flag outside the building.
Naming Post Offices:Naming Post Offices:
The guidelines stipulate that the correct way to name a post office is: <name> Post Office, for example “Pueblo Post Office”. The name is the name that is shown in the USPS website. Occasionally, you will see a Post Office on the USPS website that has a name like “Westminster (Harris Park)”; in this case, name the post office as: "Westminster Post Office Harris Park Station”. Also, to naming the Contract Postal Unit, the correct way is: Name+Contract Postal Unit or Name+CPU.
Editing/Reviewing Post Offices for a city or county:
You might want to review all of the Post Offices for a city or county. To do this, go to the the USPS Find Locations web page; restrict the search to Post Offices and , Village Post Offices, and Contract Postal Units; type in the city of interest; and select a reasonable search radius. Then go through all of the locations and make sure they are in the Structures database. If you are working on a county, then successively type in the names of various cities in that county with a reasonable search radius for each so that when each of your search results are combined you get complete results for the whole county. NOTE: there is a USPS web page for searching for Post Offices within a county, but this search uses an out-of-date-database, so it is recommended not to rely on this county search.