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Kansas Geological Survey, Open-file Report 2006-10

Comparison of calculated state center points for Kansas

John W. Dunham and Jeremy D. Bartley
KGS GIS Services

KGS Open File Report 2006-10
April 24, 2006

In response to public inquiries, the Kansas Geological Survey investigated modern methods of determining the center point of Kansas. The U.S. Geological Survey places the point at 98° 41' 54" W, 38° 29' 54" N, based on USGS Bulletin 817, "Boundaries, areas, geographic centers, and altitudes of the United States and the several states, with a brief record of important changes in their territory and government," by Edward Morehouse Douglas (1930). An earlier edition of the same publication was published in 1923 as USGS Bulletin 689. This location is in Barton County, northeast of Great Bend.

In the early 1980s, Charles Ross of the KGS, using the KGS software GIMMAP, used different center-of-mass methods to derive the approximate location of 98° 22' 42" W, 38° 29' 37" N. This location is about 17 miles east of the USGS location, in northwest Rice County, about 1.5 miles southeast of Bushton. Jim McCauley of the KGS conducted his own corroborative calculation, which agreed with Ross' findings.

As a modern-day comparison to the two points, Jeremy Bartley of KGS used tools in ESRI's ArcGIS software to calculate two new state center points. These two points, both located at approximately 98° 22' 38" W, 38° 29' 38" N, were generated with a center-of-mass method and an envelope method using the state's minimum and maximum x- and y-coordinates. In doing his calculations, Bartley had no knowledge of the specifics of either of the earlier center point locations, yet derived a location within less than 1000 feet of that of Ross and McCauley. In examining all the point locations closely, our opinion is that the correct location of the geographic center of Kansas is near the two sets of KGS measurements. The USGS location appears to be well west of the center of the state; this is even noticeable on a small-scale map comparing the points.

The map associated with this report is available as an Adobe Acrobat PDF file.

View the PDF version (12 MB)

Kansas Geological Survey, Geology
Updated July 13, 2006
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