Fun with Maps 83&84

You can use Maps 83A and 83B to accomplish something I do all the time, ship packages. I work in Shipping and Receiving (and Inventory Control, Production Scheduling, lots of other stuff…) and can use these maps to determine how long a particular shipment will take to reach its (domestic, non-express) destination. When customers are desperate to get their product as soon as possible, this information is very helpful and necessary to have. The maps below color code each day of package transportation time. I live in the suburbs of Minneapolis but anyone can check their transit times based on their own zip code on the UPS and FedEx websites (when you’re done reading my post, of course).

Map 83D

Map 83A: UPS Ground Package Transit Map

Map 83

Map 83B: FedEx Ground Package Transit Map

Notice any differences between the maps? UPS (the first map) says they can get a package from Minneapolis to all of Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Iowa, as well as parts of the Dakotas in one day. FedEx (the second map), on the other hand, only covers part of Wisconsin and Iowa with a bit more of the Dakotas than UPS. FedEx’s map reaches further in two days than UPS in some areas like Tennessee, Arkansas, Montana, and West Virginia (although there is a significant splotch of three-day orange in Nebraska, Wyoming, and the Dakotas). FedEx also reaches the full East Coast faster than UPS but UPS wins the race to the West Coast. UPS really wins for shipping to Alaska (four days versus five) and Hawaii (five days versus seven-plus). How does one ship to Hawaii via “Ground” anyway?

Regardless of transit time, I will mention that I much prefer using UPS. This is a bit of insider knowledge for you but I have three reasons; 1) their software is way easier to use, 2) all their trucks operate as one unit (FedEx trucks are split between Ground and Express and they do not cooperate or pick up boxes of the other service type), and 3) they are more reliable and have better customer service. Also, for LTL (less-than-truckload) shipments, call C.H Robinson, a large logistics company with excellent discounts with various trucking companies. In the past, I requested LTL quotes from C.H Robinson and shipping companies such as YRC and ABF to find the best possible price. C.H Robinson was the cheapest option 97% of the time. On numerous occasions C.H would come in lower than YRC and two hours later, YRC would show up to collect the load! Just imagine how good their buying power is with the trucking companies to allow them to charge less, make a cut, and still have the same company carry the freight. Now I know to just use C.H and don’t bother wasting time getting quotes. I know you didn’t ask but I’m in charge here. I know you don’t care but that’s some of what I have learned in nearly four years of shipping and receiving and I felt like sharing.


Map 84 may cause you to consider your fiber intake.

Map 84B

Map 84A: Global Rates of Male Colorectal Cancer (2010)

Map 84B SupplementScience tells us that colorectal cancer is directly related to diet. It is caused by poor diet, lack of exercise, smoking, and excessive drinking. It may not be the case everywhere but there’s plenty of evidence that better economies provide better opportunities to eat unhealthy foods, to sit on your ass, and to smoke and drink as much as your paycheck will afford. The United States is a very wealthy nation and we’re facing a massive obesity crisis. According to the map, that also means we’re facing a colorectal crisis. There’s a difference between correlation and coincidence, of course, but this study says it’s a correlation.

Map 84

Map 84B: Male Deaths from Colorectal Cancer (2012)

“Also known as bowel cancer, [colorectal cancer isMap 84 Supplement] the third most common type of cancer in the world. It affected 1.4 million people in 2012 and is predicted to increase by 60%, to more than 2.2 million cases — and 1.1 million deaths — by 2030.” [CNN] Given the threat, it is important to take steps to reduce one’s risk. Have you thought about your fiber intake yet? Fiber, along with an overall healthy diet and exercise can help deter colorectal cancer. And if you’re over 50, get your colon checked at a minimum once every ten years (more if there is history of colon cancer in your family). My wife lost a family member to cancer a couple years ago. It’s very important to get yourself checked! Take care of yourselves people!


Until next time,


Bryan Signature 2




I don’t drink, and I know I just told you not to drink in excess to prevent colorectal cancer, but here’s a bonus map link of the Top 50 Craft Brewers in the United States.










5 thoughts on “Fun with Maps 83&84

  1. The shipping maps are very interesting, I’ve never compared the two services side by side before. I was wondering why the UPS one had a rigid boundary around the Midwestern statest vs. Fedex’s seemingly zip code by zip code boundary, but I’m guessing it’s based on the process you described by which Fedex uses separate trucks for separate services. From a marketing standpoint the UPS map is probably better, ppl would want to see two day shipping within their region, even if UPS may have to “cheat” and use some express means to get to say, McCook, Nebraska within two days.

    Also very interesting that in a couple places there is a 2 day jump along a border (see northern Idaho/Montana in both maps; central Nevada on Fedex). Probably reflects the “continental divide” – some place in Idaho only seem to receive packages that are first shipped to a hub in California and then travel back East. On the FedEx map the orange areas of Nevada are probably served by a Salt Lake City area hub whereas the pink areas are probably served by a California area hub, with no trucks crossing between orange and pink.

    The hub and spoke system is also visible in the FedEx map along the Front Range corridor shown in blue (Pueblo-Colorado Springs-Denver-Cheyenne, WY) you can get anywhere along that corridor in two days suggesting that a package from MN goes straight to Denver-ish and then is distributed to the Front Range from there. Whereas western Nebraska and Sout Dakota seem to reflect either direct shipment from MN or shipment first to the Denver hub and then a longer trip back East from there.

  2. Thanks for reading Stormscholar! I think you are absolutely right about some areas taking longer to reach because they have to travel much further via regional hubs. I’ll do my best to find maps of regional hub locations and share them! I find it very interesting how companies choose their regional locations/hubs. Those decisions are based on so many factors important to business such as geography, available work force, favorable local laws and regulations, access to customers (depending on the business – not all companies need local customers), operating costs, etc.

  3. Nice, good food for thought. Also interesting – I’m not sure if you’re an Amazon Prime fan but in March Amazon announced plans to lease 20 jets to cut down on their shipping costs ($11.5 billion in 2015). They’ll still have to utilize plenty of FedEx/UPS/USPS services for regional and last-mile delivery. It would be interesting to get inside their operations planning group and see how they plan to use those 20 planes to achieve the most “bang for their buck” in reducing freight costs.

    • I had not heard of Amazon’s plans. That’s really exciting news. Like you said, however, I wonder how they plan to utilize their new tools most efficiently. And for the record, we do have Amazon Prime and love it!

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