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美国邮政系统The United States Postal Service

当一封信来到邮局,邮局的首要任务就是将其送到正确的地址。由于科技的进步使得美国邮政系统(USPS)越来越少采用人工进行分址。美国将邮件分为三种类型, 信件(mails)、平件(flats)、包裹(packages)。

来自2013/08/24/ 小宇宙百科13236

吴昕荷/编 邢小叶/配图

当一封信来到邮局,邮局的首要任务就是将其送到正确的地址。由于科技的进步使得美国邮政系统(USPS)越来越少采用人工进行分址。美国将邮件分为三种类型, 信件(mails)、平件(flats)、包裹(packages)。用信封封装的信件和明信片都归属于信件类。杂志属于平件。其它尺寸不一,用箱子或其它材料封装的都属于包裹类。如今,手写的地址是由文字识别系统,而非人工来识别的。手写地址解译系统(HWAI)就是这样一个由USPS开发的软件系统。它能识别绝大部分信件的手写地址,剩下有些实在糟糕的手写字将被扫描进入人工识别系统的电脑,由远在纽约等识别中心的工作人员来人工识别并返回结果,相应的信件将被重新分址。

除了HWAI外,一些更早引进的技术早就开始为提高邮政系统工作效率做贡献。比如,信件收费是直到有了邮票才变得简单。最初即使是一张纸的平信也要寄出者和收信者分别付费。自从60年代早期,一个计划的推广让邮件分区的效率大增,那就是现在仍在使用的分区改进计划(Zoning Improvement Plan),这个计划的缩写ZIP就是现在常说的Zip Code——邮政编码。1982年开始,USPS使用条形码来包含邮政编码信息。这大大提高了邮件分类的效率,使得自动分址成为可能。除了邮政编码以外,条形码还包含了表明投递顺序的信息。

与信件不同的是,平件直接由机器读条形码获得地址。接下来,信件和平件依据地址不同在不同的传送带上到达不同的分区箱里。包裹则在传送带的传输过程中同时完成了称重,测量尺寸和分址。在各类邮件全部完成分址后,去往同一邮局的信件、平件和包裹一同装车,再由接收邮局送到千家万户。虽然这在某种程度上增加了USPS的成本,也使它进入巨大的亏损。但也不得不承认,现代技术给邮政系统和人们的日常生活带来了巨大的便利。吴昕荷/编·那些影响世界的声音

From 2013/08/24/ XYZPedia13014

Written by 吴昕荷 Translated by 吴昕荷 Illustrator 邢小叶

The United States Postal Service (USPS)

When a mail gets to the post office, the first and most important thing is to be sorted to the correct address.

The official postal system of United States began on 1792. Over hundreds of years of development, the United States Postal Service (USPS) is less and less touched by hands, though, in some points, increased its costs and throw itself into great deficit. However, there is no doubt that modern technology brings great convenience to postal system and people’s daily life.

Mails are divided into three categories: mails, flats and packages. Letters in envelope and postcards are all belong to mails. Magazines are viewed as flats. Those with different sizes of packages or boxes are belongs to packages.

Instead of being read by men, mails’ addresses are read by machines nowadays. HandWritten Address Interpretation (HWAI) is such a software system first deployed by the United States Postal Service. It was developed at Center of Excellence for Document Analysis and Recognition of the State University of New York. When a mail is being processed, HWAI can recognize most of handwriting. However some really bad handwriting will be scanned and the image of the words will be sent to the processing center in New York, where staff recognize the handwriting and return the results to the system so that the mail will be correctly addressed.

Besides HWAI, some earlier developed technology contributes to the improvement of efficiency of U.S postal service. Before the invention of stamp, post office charged both sender and receiver for a letter. From 1960’s , Zoning Improvement Plan, known as ZIP, was introduced to improve the efficiency of zoning. This plan is why we name Zip code now. Since 1982, barcode has been used to contain Zip code and “carrier sort” information which includes the coding to sort the mail to the order it’s delivered.

Different from mails, flats are directly sorted by its barcode. Mails and magazines are then separately delivered by the conveyor belts to boxes according to their addresses, waiting to be delivered. Packages, also delivered by conveyor belts, will be weighted, measured (size) on the way. And their barcode are also read by machines to sort to the correct addresses. Finally all the mails, flats and packages going to the same post office will be put together. Local post office sends them to people one by one.

编者 吴昕荷

小小蜉蝣 可以给世界的美 加个理由

文章评论 (1)

  • 赫希伯格公爵 2013-08-23 12:14:57
    哈,USPS的车长得很有特色,几乎天天都能看到
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