Centre of Great Britain
October 21, 2002 6:22 AM   Subscribe

Centre of Great Britain The BBC (God bless 'em) are running a series of "Centre of ..." stories. No-one in the UK seems to care, do other nationalities care more about their country's centre of gravity?
posted by daveg (12 comments total)
Given inidvidual states desire for distinction does any state claim to be the "Center of America"?
posted by daveg at 6:41 AM on October 21, 2002

Can you guess which country contains the geographical Centre of Europe? Answer here. Surprised? Europe's bigger than you think.
posted by grahamwell at 7:06 AM on October 21, 2002

Given inidvidual states desire for distinction does any state claim to be the "Center of America"?

Not to my (admittedly sketchy) recollection of geography and state mottos. However, I found the article interesting due to having finished Neil Gaiman's American Gods a couple of weeks ago, as he used the Centre of America as one of the many settings. I'd be interested to find out where this practice of "centrography" dating back to "ancient times" had its origins.
posted by romakimmy at 7:11 AM on October 21, 2002

the title of the BBC link was terrible, red top headlinese at its worst/best.
posted by johnnyboy at 7:41 AM on October 21, 2002

The center of Spain is also the center of Madrid. Puerta del Sol
posted by goneill at 7:45 AM on October 21, 2002

Cant find the center but heres the highest point in each state and the Highpointers Club who have hiked to all 50. Not a small feat considering Alaska so they also have a 48'ers club for the lower 48. Personally Im a member of the 1 club (Maryland), you can drive to it and walk up the 100 yards or so.
posted by stbalbach at 10:45 AM on October 21, 2002

The US has a monument at what we call 'the geographic center of the coterminous (or contiguous, or continental) 48 states', near Lebanon KS. The geographic center of all 50 states is in South Dakota, but there's apparently no monument (it's likely that adding all additional possessions, including Guam and PR, would only move it a few feet). Rugby, North Dakota, seems proud to be the center of North America, though.

The Census also keeps track of the centers of population, nationally as well as by state, and includes a nifty time series of the national location from 1790 to present. Notably, though moving slightly south and slightly more west every 10 years, it did not cross the Mississippi River until around 1977 -- just after our bicentennial. It's now in middle south Missouri, and if present trends continue adding population to the Southwest (not certain), might hit Kansas or Oklahoma in 2 or 3 decades.

The EU has a geographic center monument, but portability is an issue.
posted by dhartung at 12:34 PM on October 21, 2002

"BT installed its 100,000th payphone at the site in 1992 and included a plaque to explain its significance. It reads: "You are calling from the BT payphone that marks the centre of Great Britain"."
Isn't that so .... British? Gorgeous.
posted by Catch at 12:48 PM on October 21, 2002

Besides all that, Liverpool isn't just the centre of Britain, it's at the centre of the universe ...
posted by feelinglistless at 12:51 PM on October 21, 2002

Besides the fact that the center of some given territorial entity always seems to be in the middle of nowhere (=boring, best left to the sheeps), I wonder what method is being used to find out. Has anybody got a clue? Algorithm?
posted by ugly_n_sticky at 2:11 PM on October 21, 2002

Apparently Ukraine cares a lot about its geographic center, too. After years of dispute, scientists figured out the location -- and to make it final, the government put a 20-ton granite slab there. Isn't that so .... slavic?

The United States Geological Survey says that "because there is no generally accepted definition of a geographic center and no completely satisfactory method of determining it, there may be as many geographic centers of a state or county as there are definitions of the term." However, they have come up with their own definition: "The geographic center of an area may be defined as the center of gravity of the surface, or that point on which the surface of an area would balance if it were a plane of uniform thickness. Curvature of the Earth, large bodies of water, irregular surfaces, and other factors affect the determination of center of gravity. In determining the centers of the States, islands adjacent to their coastlines and large bodies of water were excluded."
-- seen here; and a list of state centers {2/3 down}, apparently by that method.
posted by dhartung at 9:50 PM on October 21, 2002

Can you guess which country contains the geographical Centre of Europe?

Hmm, I guessed Austria. I might have been right if it wasn't for bloody Scandinavia.
posted by ed\26h at 2:21 AM on October 22, 2002

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