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Understanding Canadian Postal Codes
OK, so I've found plenty of technical descriptions
of the Canadian Postal system, but nothing that answers my question in direct, layman terms. I suspect I understand it correctly, but hopefully some Canucks here can verify for me.
I'm creating a web-service that matches up an individual with their "Local Sales Representative". Currently there are only a couple dozen Sales Representatives for all of Canada, but there is nothing saying that there couldn't be hundreds in the future.
So, a Canadian person goes to the web-form and fills in their Postal Code, and then my program looks up that Postal Code in a database and returns the assigned sales rep. Somebody (not me) gets the thrilling job of maintaining a datafile that maps sales reps to postal codes. What I'm trying to figure out is whether I can prevent making that data-entry person's life horrible.
There are about 850,000 Postal Codes in Canada. However, there are only about 1,800 FSA's (forward sortation area = the first three characters in the postal code). Should it be safe to create the datafile mapping using only the FSA? Assuming I don't expect to be drawing any arbitrary lines right down the middle of the map, thus splitting a town or village in two, I'm thinking the FSA is a reasonable-sized geographic area for dividing up the population...yes?