Going Postal Mapping

I moved recently and wanted to look up my local post office's phone number. I ended up at the Post Office Locator. In the midst of struggling, I received this mysterious message:

A really annoying message saying some crap about clearing a message.

Even after clicking the "Clear This Message" button, I received the same message. The unhelpful help wrongly calls the button "CLEAR". I didn't see a home link for starting over. I had smack my Back button repeatedly to start over. I still don't know what the message meant.

The struggle was to find a particular post office on Juan Tabo. Juan Tabo (Spanish for "John Tabo") is a soulless, six-lane, major north-south, too busy for median-landscaping bastard of a street. Should be easy to find, right? Punching in my zip code, I picked a map link:

Worthless misleading map
First, the "X marks the spot" icon with the word "USPS" on it sucks. From what I can tell, the address is on the second S in "USPS", NOT on the blue and white arrow. Sometimes.

Second, the words "Juan Tabo" are at the top, and the crucial "J" is cut off (circled in red). Third, too many side streets clutter the map. Fourth, and most damning: a tiny street named Paisano runs parallel to Juan Tabo; where its label sits, it makes Juan Tabo look like Paisano. (circled in red too).

On top of it all, the street name listed was Haines. Now, the only Haines I knew of was 4 miles west, so it was clearly wrong. But the post office is technically on Haines, because Haines jogs. I hate jogging streets, since before I'd even heard of usability or the web. So I'll finish with Chad's Jogging Streets Rule:

Stand on one corner of this alleged street, chuck a rock at the kitty-corner of the other section of this alleged same street. If you can hit it that corner, it is the same street. If not, it is a different street and should have a different name!

Posted by Chad Lundgren on Monday, July 29, 2002 (Link)


Posted by Donna Maurer Tuesday, July 30, 2002 at 05:37 AM

I liked your story - so much stuff is just totally unusable...

But what on earth is a jogging street and a kitty corner??

Posted by Joshua Kaufman Tuesday, July 30, 2002 at 01:10 PM

There are so many locators that suck so badly.

Jakob also has an Alertbox covering the subject of locators:

Posted by Roslee Friday, August 2, 2002 at 03:24 AM

Chad, I am really surprised that your post office isn't the one off Lomas just west of Tramway!
I can imagine the maps being truly sucky, especially as the detail can get very obscure.

Posted by Vincent Friday, August 9, 2002 at 05:00 PM

Chad when i worked as a walker i saw many streets that were not clear on a map i had to guess a few times than i had it in my brain :-) were our sister lives is not right on mapquest.com they blocked the street so they sould know to tell you to go around but i guess they did not get the memo on that.