GfK MACON updates maps of Germany, Austria and Switzerland to Status 2006

Around 700 changes from 2005 due to new or dropped postal code areas and municipal boundaries.

WaghTMusel, April 21, 2006 -- The 2006 Editions of Germany, Austria and Switzerland contain all postal and administrative units as well as many topographical map levels such as streets, railway lines, city areas and elevation levels. Furthermore, the new editions contain special branch-specific maps including Nielsen areas, geographical barriers and statutory health insurance regions as well as data on population and surface areas. The 2006 Editions are the most comprehensive map packages of Germany, Austria and Switzerland available on the market. The digital maps are available as vector data sets in the most popular GIS formats: Shape (ESRI), mid/mif (MapInfo) and RegioGraph (GfK MACON). All map objects are fully labeled.

New maps of Germany, Austria and Switzerland The 2006 Editions include all postal and administrative units for Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Digital maps with administrative boundaries such as municipalities are used in business software like GIS (Geographical Information Systems) to present statistical data such as population figures. Postal units such as postal codes are needed to present and analyze customer locations and other company-related data referring to an address.

GfK MACON updates maps every year because municipal and postal code territory structures are always changing due to shifting boundaries, name changes or amalgamations. For example, since the year 2000, there have been more than 4,000 changes in Germany, Austria and Switzerland.

Using the latest maps for sales and marketing is highly important, since working with old territorial structures can create frictional loss. On one hand, this means considerable time wastage - for instance, retroactive allocation of old postal codes to new. Or it could lead to content-based misunderstandings – for instance, presenting potentially inaccurate customer locations or regional planning based on outdated administrative information. In some cases, wrong allocation may lead to sales districts that are not assigned to any sales representative and remain unattended.

All postal, administrative and topographical maps have been revised and compared with the latest satellite imagery for each region and with original maps using a 1:50,000 scale and a 1:10,000 scale for urban areas. At the same time, topographical maps are also updated. For instance, city areas which expand each year, or highways – with an additional 191 kilometers of new roads added to the 2006 Editions. These provide a realistic view of the market environment.

Most of the updates from 2005 were for Germany, with a total of 618 changes.

Starting January 1st, 2006, four postal code districts were phased-out and one new one was created. Due to relocations, there were 577 boundary changes within postal code districts. There were also some major changes at the administrative level. The government districts of Lower-Saxony (Braunschweig, Hanover, Lüneburg, Weser-Ems) were amalgamated as Lower Saxony. The government districts of Saxony-Anhalt (Dessau, Halle, Magdeburg) have become the single district of Saxony-Anhalt.

There were also 33 changes to municipalities: 28 municipalities were dissolved and four were renamed. The number of municipalities decreased from 12,432 to 12,404.

In Austria, there were 24 changes from 2005: five new postal code districts were added and one was phased-out. Thirteen locations received a new postal code and one city postal code was renamed. There were also two name changes for municipalities.

In Switzerland, 32 municipal districts and 17 postal code districts were changed: 28 of the 2,777 municipalities were dissolved. Five new municipalities were added, bringing Switzerland’s new total to 2,754. Eleven postal code districts were phased-out and five new ones were created; one postal code boundary was shifted. On the whole, 49 areas in Switzerland were affected since 2005.

According to Wolfram Scholz, Managing Director of GfK MACON:
“GfK MACON annually updates its maps for all European countries because territorial structures are always changing. As a result, we guarantee that our customers always have a reliable basis for their customer management and sales planning activities. As supplier of the world’s largest collection of digital postal and administrative maps, GfK MACON offers the new 2006 Editions of Germany, Austria and Switzerland - providing the most extensive map sets available on the market for German-speaking countries. As a supplement, we also offer market data such as the Purchasing Power Indices which show where market potential is located.”

The new 2006 Editions of Germany, Austria and Switzerland are available immediately from GfK MACON and include all administrative, postal, topographical and special maps, as well as population and surface area data.

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About GfK MACON GmbH

GfK MACON has been a provider of Geomarketing solutions since 1991. The company develops geographic information systems (GIS) for use in Marketing and Sales, offers market data such as purchasing power for all European countries and consulting services on all aspects of Territory Planning. GfK MACON maintains the world's largest collection of digital postal and administrative maps and is the German market leader with the Business GIS RegioGraph and DISTRICT.

GfK MACON is part of the international GfK network. GfK is currently represented in 63 countries with over 130 subsidiaries and a workforce of more than 7,600. The company takes 5th place in the worldwide ranking of market research institutes.

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