What Is a Geographic Filing System?

A geographic filing system arranges files alphabetically or numerically based on geographic location. This method of filing correspondence is popular in the sales field and has been used by the U.S. Navy.

For geographic filing, categories are arranged according to the geographic location of the source or destination of record. Files may be classified by state name alphabetically or by a number system associated with a state. Cities within those states are subdivisions, so they are filed alphabetically or numerically within the state folder. The correspondents’ names may then be arranged alphabetically in a subfolder of each city folder.

For example, files may be classified in the order: United States, New York, Long Island, Bethpage Jane Doe. This method of filing is popular in the sales field. Salespeople are often designated specific territories that include more than one state or city, and they keep in touch with multiple people within those territories. The U.S. Navy has used geographical filing systems for its correspondence since 1941. The system has been updated and adjusted over time to accommodate new bureaus, departments and technology, but the Navy filing system is based on geographical location as an identifier. The Navy assigns a number that corresponds to a geographical location, which is followed by the name of the place spelled out.