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Tuesday Term of the Week | Centroid

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Remember in high school when you were sure that you would never need to use all that math as a grown up? Well, it turns out that that was somewhat true. Our word this week is Centroid, which is a term used in mathematics and physics to refer to the geometric center of a two-dimensional region and is the arithmetic mean or average position of all points in the shape. For us, it refers to the geographic center of a defined area, and is offered for all of our data. We use Zip4 centroid points to build our postal boundary data.

For polygons, we provide a weighted centroid because for certain shapes (such as an L-shaped polygon), a centroid calculated by arithmetic mean alone often falls outside of the polygon. A weighting algorithm is used to place the point inside the polygon. The good news? We take care of the calculations so you don’t have to. You can stick to not using any of that math you learned in high school.