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Population center

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At NACIS, Jonathan Schroeder talked about using Center of Population points as a way of placing point symbols at the population-weighted center of an area, which is great—except that as far as I can tell, there is no such thing for the most logical application of this cartographically: incorporated cities and towns. The Census Gazetteer "Places" file appears to use a spatial center point. Any thoughts?

Nat Case

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Any thoughts?

Although I work at Census (even in the Geography Division, responsible for producing those files) I don't know much about these particular files. I suspect you are correct about using spatial points. Based on the field names (INTPTLAT and INTPTLONG) I suspect the points are the INTPOINT stored in our database, which is similar to a center point, but these are shifted to the interior of the polygon if the center point lies outside. I don't know what algorithm is used to shift them, but if you wrote to the email at the bottom of the Gazetteer page ( geo.geography@census.gov ) I'm sure they'll pass you on to the person who can answer any questions you have.
Andy McIntire
US Census Bureau

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