Tastes Like Chicken

Thursday, March 17, 2005
_ZIP Code Maps of Northern Virginia

I Suffer So You Don't Have To.

You would not believe what an amazing pain in the ass it is to track down ZIP code maps for northern Virginia, but I did it, because I need them to plug into real estate listing web sites. Those real estate web sites let you narrow searches by ZIP code, but they never show where the ZIP code actually falls on a map.

So I tracked down, and in some cases created, this complete set of zip code maps for all the counties of northern Virginia.

Start off with this map of the counties of northern Virginia to orient yourself. Arlington and Alexandria get a bit of the cold shoulder on that map, but if you look for them snuggled up against DC you'll find them.

To dispense a little cartographic justice, we'll start with the those two. Here is a map of ZIP codes in Arlington, VA (Arlington County, Virginia or Arlington, VA). That's a fantastically detailed 4 megabyte PDF file. If you parked your car in Arlington, it's probably marked on that. Keep looking.

Next is Alexandria, Virginia. Now these maps suck, but don't give me any crap about it. Nobody had a useful ZIP code map online for Alexandria, so I had to create both of these maps of ZIP Codes in Alexandria, VA (Alexandria City Virginia or Alexandria, Virginia). One started as an unlabeled teaser graphic on a county government site, and the other started as an illegibly labeled and crudely bordered EPA map output by a pollution tracking web applet.
UPDATE: The Washington Post has useful (but not ideal) ZIP code maps in their new real estate section. I've added their rendition to the above image.

Just beyond those two bodies lies Fairfax County. Here is a map of ZIP codes in Fairfax, VA (Fairfax County Virginia or Fairfax, Virginia). That's a PDF file with probably just the right amount of road detail to orient yourself.

To the south lies Prince William County. Here is a map of ZIP codes in Prince William, VA (Prince William County or Prince William, Virginia). That's a little busier than Fairfax's map, but not much.

And, finally, out to the west is Loudoun County. Here is a map of ZIP codes in Loudoun, VA (Loudoun County Virginia or Loudoun, Virginia). That's not quite as detailed as the Fairfax map, but it's pretty good.