Mapping PIN codes

I haven’t found an open or reliable database providing the geo-location of Indian PIN codes. That’s a bother if you’re creating geographic mash-ups. The closest were commercial sources:

  • a PIN code directory from the Postal Training Centre for Rs. 2,000, which probably just contains a list of PIN codes, and
  • a PIN code map from MapMyIndia for Rs. 1,00,000, whose quality I’m not sure of. (I spoke to one of their sales representatives who mentioned that the data was gathered via companies such as Coca Cola, using their local distribution knowledge, perhaps GPSs.)

Crowd-sourcing this might help. Here’s a site where you can map the location of any PIN code you know:

pincode.datameet.org

For example, if you knew the exact location of the PIN code 110083 (which happens to be Mongolpuri in New Delhi), just go to http://pincode.datameet.org/IN/110083 and move the marker to where it should be.

I’ve initially populated the data from GeoNames. Arun has offered OpenStreetMap data. If you know of any sources that we could use, please let me know. And if you want to use the data, feel free. It’s CC licensed. You can check out the source on github too.

Install Mercurial

If you’re jointly writing code with others, use Mercurial or Git. (Not SVN. Linus explains, but the quick version is: you can’t commit offline.)

Sites like bitbucket, github and Google Code let you maintain your code online with others editing it.

My preference is for Mercurial via TortoiseHg, which integrates well with Windows Explorer. (I use the command prompt, but people I collaborate with prefer this.)

Here’s a 2-minute video explaining how to install TortoiseHg and commit your code onto bitbucket.

Install Mediawiki

Once you’ve installed XAMPP, download MediaWiki and unzip it into your xampp/htdocs folder. You may need 7-Zip to extract tar.gz files. Rename the mediawiki folder to wiki.

You’ll first need to create a database, which you can do by visiting /phpmyadmin/ on your localhost, typing in the database name and pressing ‘Create’.

Now go to /wiki/ and fill out the form. Make sure you select “Use superuser account” since you haven’t really created a user for your database.

Click on the “Install Mediawiki” button, and you should have a wiki.

Install WordPress

Once you’ve installed XAMPP, download WordPress and unzip it into your xampp/htdocs folder.

You’ll first need to create a database, which you can do by visiting the /phpmyadmin/ on your localhost, typing in the database name and pressing ‘Create’.

Now go to /wordpress/, click the buttons and fill out the form. Type in ‘root’ for the database username and leave the password blank. Select any password you want for the administrator account. You can now log in with this administrator password and log into the WordPress dashboard.

Install XAMPP

I’ve been going around setting up open source software a fair bit recently. To minimise the pain of explaining it, I’m putting together a short videos that explain the process.

Here’s the first, on XAMPP, which is a starting point for most open source applications. It bundles Apache (web server), MySQL (database), Perl and PHP.

To install it, search and download “XAMPP for Windows”, and press enter for every question. Then install your application under C:\xampp\htdocs. That’s it.