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ArtMan

Center of Population Markers

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After the 2000 Census, the National Geodetic Survey announced the Center of Population Project, which encouraged states to set markers at or near the center of population in each state. These are just commemorative and serve no cadestral, geodetic or other practical function. Apparently, only a few states have actually gone to the trouble of placing markers. One is Maryland, which placed a disk and bronze marker in Savage Park, located in the historic town of Savage, approximately midway between Baltimore and Washington.[br] [br]

 

There is an interactive map at the web site linked above as well as other information about the project. I've uploaded some photos of the Maryland markers including a closup of the marker, closup of the plaque, and a view of the area, showing the nearby playground and, in an inset, etrex-provided coordinates.

 

Have you visited your state's center of population?

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Interesting topic.

 

The 1970 center of population for the U.S. is marked in St. Clair County, Illinois (suburban St. Louis) at JB1913. Interestingly, they apparently took an existing marker and turned it into the center of population marker. There are history reports from 1930 and 1937.

 

The 1980 center of population for the U.S. is marked in Jefferson County, Missouri at PID JC1679. For some reason this one doesn't show up in GC but I don't know why.

 

The 1990 center of population for the U.S. is marked in Crawford County, Missouri at PID HC1137.

 

The 2000 center of population for the U.S. is marked in Phelps County, Missouri at PID AJ3110.

 

The 2000 center of population for the state of Missouri is marked in Osage County at PID DE6442.

 

Both of the last two are too new to show up in GC.com

 

I have not visited any of these markers (yet!)

 

[This message was edited by RogBarn on June 19, 2003 at 02:53 PM.]

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I had the great pleasure to set the 1980, 90 and 2000 national center marks. These were great fun to set and survey in. The 1990 and 2000 marks were set in cooperation with the Missouri Department of Natural Resoruces, Geodetic Survey Unit. These guys have been excellent partners with NGS and are a wonderful resource for the State. I'm in the process of updating the map on the NGS web site. To date we have 19 states that have set their individual monuments. So far 6 have completed all the GPS measurements and submitted the data to NGS for inclusion in the National Spatial Reference System (just received the data for Georgia on Monday)

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Here is one more:

 

The 1960 center of population for the U.S. is marked in Clinton County, Illinois at PID JB1836. Again, this one has some interesting history, it was recovered in 1970 with a note "MARK IS DANGEROUSLY CLOSE TO THE PROPOSED ROUTE OF A NEW INTERSTATE HIGHWAY." However, a quick check on MapQuest does not show any interstate highway nearby. Also, it is set 18 inches below ground, so it would tough to locate without permission and digging tools.

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The NGS web page on population centers here has a bug. When I click on Missouri, I get a map of Montana. I had emailed the webmaster about this in April but didn't get a response.

 

Other than that, it's an interesting page. There are some good links also, the pdf map of the movement of the US center of population is particularly good. Also, I found a pic of DaveD in there somewhere too. Thanks for contributing to our forum Dave!

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My mother grewup in Olney, IL. I remember that when visiting my grandparents when I was a boy, we drove past a billboard proudly proclaiming the population center for 1950. I'll have to dig a little to see if there happens to be a benchmark associated with it...I think the sign is long gone.

 

Max

Often wrong but seldom in doubt

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Here is a generalized map of the U.S. population centers.

 

I recall driving by the hysterical marker in WV for the 1830 or 1820 one (I forget which).

 

Here are the coordinates!!

 

[This message was edited by Black Dog Trackers on June 20, 2003 at 09:08 AM.]

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quote:
Originally posted by RogBarn:

There are some good links also, the pdf map of the movement of the US center of population is particularly good.


 

Not to disparage anyone or any region but I could not help but see the center moving inexorably towards Southern California. Much like those depictions of matter falling into the cone of gravity around a black hole.

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quote:
Originally posted by geocletic:I could not help but see the center moving inexorably towards Southern California. Much like those depictions of matter falling into the cone of gravity around a black hole.

 

I imagine after California falls into the ocean (after The Big One), the population center will snap back to Illinois...or further east.)

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In Northern Kentucky we've got a historical marker at the *1880* center of U.S. Population. At one point there was a cache nearby, but it has been relegated to a virtual cache since it's dissaperance. (Site was too close to the new airport, and coincidentaly, to many visitors :-)

 

Population Center Cach

 

~Justin

KG4ZEP

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quote:
Originally posted by RogBarn:

The NGS web page on population centers http://www.ngs.noaa.gov/INFO/COP/ has a bug. When I click on Missouri, I get a map of Montana. I had emailed the webmaster about this in April but didn't get a response.

 

Other than that, it's an interesting page. There are some good links also, the pdf map of the movement of the US center of population is particularly good. Also, I found a pic of DaveD in there somewhere too. Thanks for contributing to our forum Dave!


 

DaveD, your name is on this web page, can you get the bug fixed?

Also, rwyman sent me this in a private email: "I think there's one at Dundas, IL (1950 population center of U.S.), if the crew that ripped out the tracks in 1997 didn't

destroy it." I can't find anything in the NGS/GC database, so maybe it is another USGS marker that didn't make it into the NGS database.

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For anyone interested, the coords of the 2000 census center of population for MO are:

 

N 38.433715

W 92.153770

 

Greg

N 39 54.705'

W 77 33.137'

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There is a monument marking the center of population of the continental US in 1950 at N38 50.046 W88 05.081. I don't have photo available at present as it is still in my camera. The monument is located in a convenient spot as true center is in a cornfield about 1/4 mile west. Engraving on monument lists true location as N38 50' 21" W88 9' 33".

 

Wearily wending our way with GPS in hand....

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As an aside, it strikes me as rather interesting that the center of population is still moving West at a constant rate. It's as if the settlement of the country is still in process after almost 400 years.

 

[This message was edited by Black Dog Trackers on September 24, 2003 at 10:23 AM.]

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The 1930s Center of Population monument is located at N39*02.919 W087*08.313. However, since I've set this up as a virtual cache (GCG6A5) which is verified by photo, I won't be uploading an image. icon_biggrin.gif

 

It's also a little difficult to access unless you know the one correct snakey road which gets you there. I have entry coordinates on the cache site, to keep searchers from buzzing the residential areas.

 

The marker is so well concealed in trees, many of the locals don't even know it's there. The monument is also the second of it's kind: the first was originally made of coal, which led to its untimely demise as it was purloined in chunks for heating during the Great Depression. icon_eek.gif

 

The second monument was build of stone, which is considerably less combustable.

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I recently visitied the 2000 center of population marker for the state of Missouri (PID DE6442). It is nicely done in a roadside park -- for convience -- I understand that the true center is not easily reached. The marker is worth a stop and the hotel in Westphalia has a good family style meal on the weekends. :P

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Interesting topic! I'm glad it got bumped up where I noticed it.

 

Dave or anyone, I understand most of the key legend on the http://www.ngs.noaa.gov/INFO/COP/ map. "Set" means a state marker has been installed. "Interest" must mean the state has made noises but not done anything yet, and "No info" would mean there's been no response from the state. But what do "ADJ" (adjusted?) and "GPS" mean? I looked at the drawing of the New Jersey mark, and it didn't have any GPS coordinates on it.

 

Patty

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Wintertime is correct about the notes from the web site.

GPS means that the appropriate GPS measurements have been

completed and are being reviewed, while ADJ means that the data

has been completely finalized and published as part of the National

Spatial Reference System. Unfortunately, this web page is not up

to date. Due to budget restrains, I've lost my tech support for several

program and have not been able to find the time to work on this one

myself too much. As of today, NGS published info on the following

9 states Center of Population Marks (Nevada is currently being reviewed):

 

Georgia - DF6671

Louisiana - DE5745

Maryland - DF8458

Michigan - DF8446

Missouri - DE6442

New Jersey - DE6224

Ohio - DF5566

Virginia - DF8080

Washington - DE6225

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I will try to link in a photo of the 2000 Census Missouri Center of Population:

 

DE6442_crop.jpg

 

It obviously does not care to work for me -- maybe because I have a free GeoCities web site. :D

Edited by happycycler

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It obviously does not care to work for me -- maybe because I have a free GeoCities web site. :D

Strange, if I right click on the photo and select "Show Picture" it works just fine. Not sure why. The code looks OK to me. Maybe something on the Geocities side to keep people from using them as a file server.

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Yeah, Geocities don't want me to use them as a server. Thank you GeckoGeek for the insite! It is available on my GeoCities site though, if anyone wnted to go to all the trouble.... LOL :D

Edited by happycycler

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This past weekend I finally got out to visit both the 1990 center of population marker HC1137 and the 2000 center of population AJ3110. Since AJ3110 is too young for the GeoCaching database, I hung a couple of pix on my log for HC1100 which is just on the North side of the Edgar Springs, MO cemetery from AJ3110. Both of these markers are nicely done in areas that can be easily visited.

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Woohoo! I just found the COP disk for Tennessee!!! It is one of only a couple that were in NGS and not in GC's databases. It looked like an easy find so I went down this morning and sure enough it was easy as pie from the directions. The coords on the datasheet had me off by about .3 mile though and I'm not sure why.

The coords I marked while there, at Barfield Crescent Park south of Murfreesboro are 35° 47. 043 -086° 24.899

Pretty neat!

 

tennessee2.jpg

 

(edited to fix coords)

Edited by graveyard mom

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graveyard mom - You might want to check your coordinates. I think you typo-ed the degress of latitude they should be 35. I checked the data sheet and match the rest of your coordinates to 0.1 second. What are the values that were off by .3 mile?

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Woops, you were right-finger must have slipped, should have 35 not 36!

 

As for them being off, well the coords on the at the top of the datasheet are:

35 47 02.49900N

086 24 53.97678W

 

When I put them in the GPSr I added them up to the decimal point plus one for the last number (ie for 1st line I put 35 47 024). I'm still new at figuring out which "datum" and all that, but I am sure it is why I was way off on the second one I tried to find this morning(coords on datasheet are different than gc.com page). Could this be a matter of the above coords being DD MM SS rather than DD MM.MMM ??? The other one I was looking for is FD0621. I only took the datasheet with me and since it said "adjusted" I assumed I would go right to it. I know I must have put them in wrong somehow!! :rolleyes:

 

(edited to add that I changed the DD MM.MMM on my GPSr to DD MM'SS.S and it pretty well matches up! Learn something new everyday, I didn't know datasheets were in that "mode"!)

Edited by graveyard mom

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Grayeyard mom - You did find a good one. I had the honor of being one of the speakers at the dedication of the TN COP mark. It's in a very nice area in the park. I wish all marks were so well located. The observations of this station were conducted by the TN DOT and they did a great job.

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DaveD-

That is awesome!! I'd never been in that park before though I had driven by many times. Beautiful! And the directions on the datasheet were terrific-so easy. I wish they were also always this easy to find!! :rolleyes:

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Graveyard Mom,

 

Congrats on your find, That is very cool! You made a great discovery too in that the NGS datasheets are all you really need. Just a simple as printing out a few sheets of paper. Old school, but they never crash and always have the correct formatting. They come with the correct Datum and with the highest accuracy. There are many other clues as to what is going on with the survey mark you seek and others as well when you learn to read them, and this is something that is not available to you in any other format. Sometimes we find a few errors in the data, and this is easy enough to have corrected as it is a human system, yet they remain the best source for all the information and the cheapest way to go. In the simplest terms, you don't need a GPS to find a Benchmark, All you should really need is a simple paper datasheet. If it were not for the work done by the geodetic surveyors in the last 200 years, that these datasheets represent, a lot of things would be very different today.

 

I just wanted to reiterate the lesson you learned today. I have made light of this in several prior posts. I will do it again because you have highlighted an excellent example. It kinda brings it home.

 

When Geocaching.com created the game of benchmark hunting, they converted the NGS standard DDD.MM.SSSSS (degrees minutes seconds) format to DD.MM.MMM (degrees minutes decimal minutes) format, thinking that the convenience of using the default format the GPS is set to would be easiest. Well it is easier in not having to play with the GPS settings as long as you use the geocaching.com rendered data, but unfortunately the easy ends right there. When you move to the NGS datasheet, the bets are off. It is at that point your eyes will begin to play tricks.

 

A couple problems arise from this. Let me explain. The NGS method of DDD.MM.SS format actually is age old and standard practice in surveying. An important thing to watch carefully is the .SS part of the format. that decimal point can and often does contain data 5-7 places to the right of the decimal point, and the further to the right it gets, the more accurate it is. So we would typically see something on a datasheet that could look like DDD.MM.SSSSSS . In the format change on the geocaching website, all data is format changed, and truncated to 3 places to the right of the last decimal. This means no matter how much data there originally was to the right of the decimal. The logic behind this is that this is all the accuracy the GPSr has in the first place, and in most cases is adequate to get us where we want to go. To the eyes in the field, the two formats, though they describe a similar location, the numbers look different and bring us doubt. For stations set close together, they can bring even more doubt.

 

While we have all the options available, I recommend when hunting Benchmarks, to verify that the GPS is set to the NAD 83 Datum, which is the NGS owned Datum and used with these stations, (in fact these stations are in part and parcel the basis for that datum) Then affirm that your display format is set to DDD.MM.SSS format. This would be especially important if you intend to submit your recoveries to the NGS for inclusion in the Database, which the NGS encourages the geocachers to do.

 

Conversely, when you want to geocache, the proper conventions for doing so would be to set your GPS to the WGS 84 Datum, and to the DDD.MM.MMM display format, which by the way, are most usually the default settings on most GPSr units.

 

One more note of interest, you may notice that Many GPSr have the capability of using many many different datum, there is quite a list in there. Depending on where in the world you are, and the map you are using, that GPS likely can help you find your way.

 

Good hunting Mom, :-)

 

Rob

Edited by evenfall

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graveyard mom

 

We use a Magellan Meridan GPSr and it allows us to show both WGS 84 and NAD 83 datums on the cordinates screen at the same time. Here in Northern AZ. there is no difference between the two. Please see picture below.

 

We stay with the standard DD,MM.MMM format since we do both caches and benchmarks. We use EasyGPS to load the waypoints to the GPSr and that programs sends the DD.MM.MMM format to the GPSr.

 

We download county files from the NGS and run them through BMGPX then use EasyGPS to the GPSr. Everything is standardized for us that way.

 

cf2612b7-61ba-4677-b5cc-5753037c849a.jpg

 

Good luck hunting the BMs

 

John

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2oldfarts - The reason there's no difference between NAD 83 and WGS 84 in your receiver is because it and every other receiver on the market uses the 3-dimensional transformation model developed by the Defense Mapping Agency (now the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency) in which all the parameters are given a value of 0. They're really differenet by about 1 m in each component (horizontal and ellipsoid height) but that's in the noise of any autonomous position.

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evenfall-thanks again-I just keep learning and learning! I went after another one today(new, 2001, in NGS not in GC) and found it completely without using the GPSr at all. :blink: I am certainly understanding that this can be a little complicated, but I more than willing to learn! My little Geko101 doesn't have a download feature so I am doing this all by hand and still learning all the features that it does have. I noticed all the different datum choices, as well as format choices. I actually learned about the difference in the MM.MMM and MM.SS when I used the coords from the USGS website (query form) to look for cemeteries, and the first one had us hiking up a hill, bushwacking, only to realize after we got back down that the cemetery was in someone's backyard back by the main road!! Woops! I will defintely be double checking using the topozone maps or some other source which ones I should be using and get them right.

 

I do agree, the bm's I have found so far that I took the info from the datasheets, I have pretty much found completely on descriptions. Hubby has the day off tomorrow and we should be spending the day hunting some more local ones!! :(

 

thanks again everyone for helping me get to know this wonderful hobby better!

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2oldfarts - The reason there's no difference between NAD 83 and WGS 84 in your receiver is because it and every other receiver on the market uses the 3-dimensional transformation model developed by the Defense Mapping Agency (now the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency) in which all the parameters are given a value of 0.  They're really differenet by about 1 m in each component (horizontal and ellipsoid height) but that's in the noise of any autonomous position.

DaveD,

 

Thank you for your response. We did not know that they were that much alike. We thought is was just possibly a match in our locale.

 

Also, I (Shirley) did not know this... Quote "Defense Mapping Agency (now the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency)". They really know how to make themselves sound very important. :blink:

 

Shirley & John~

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I'm resurrecting this six-year-old thread to wonder if there are any plans to update the 2000 Center of Population project with new state markers based on the 2010 Census data.

 

I didn't see anything on the NGS website.

 

Any info, anyone? (DaveD?)

 

~ArtMan~

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I worked for the Census for a brief time in 2009. I kind of doubt that they're going to resurrect the project. The Census Bureau is a bunch of cheapskates.

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"ArtMan," the Census Bureau has just barely begun to issue its reports on the 2000 census. They have a priority obligation to report the state-by-state data needed to reapportion the U.S. House of Representatives and to draw new legislative districts within states. They'll be finished with that by the end of the month.

 

As you can see on their website, the last CoP announcement was made on April 1, 2001 (http://www.census.gov/geo/www/cenpop/cb01cn66.html), so it's possible that we'll get the new one in just a couple of weeks. If not by April 1, then perhaps a bit later. That "product" is mentioned on one of their main 2010 Census pages, so they'll definitely be doing it. I also suspect that they'll crunch the numbers to come up with the individual state CoPs.

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The 2000 Center of Population effort was a project of the National Geodetic Survey in cooperation with the American Congress on Surveying and Mapping and the various state professional surveyors associations. Other than computing the centroid values Census had nothing to do with that program. There are no plans for a similar 2010 project. The Census Bureau in partnership with the National Geodetic Survey will set the 2010 National Center of Population mark. The large (12") commemorative disk has already been made and is only waiting for Census to complete the final geographic computations and the organization of a reconnaissance and mark setting effort. Census and NGS are planning a dedication ceremony but no official date has been set at this time.

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According to this story in today's St. Louis Post-Dispatch, they are very close to identifying the 2010 US Center of Population as being close to Plato, MO. The story is here: Attention falls on Mo. town that might be at the center of the nation

Thanks rogbarn for the information. Can't open the link but this should do it:

Attention falls on Mo. town that might be at the center of the nation

 

King Hubi

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