Thursday, March 04, 2021

Where is the Brave Heart of Scotland?

Alasdair Rae has created an interactive map which shows both the geographical center of Scotland and its 'population weighted' center. 

There are of course a number of different methods that you can use to map the geographical center of Scotland - each of which will result in a different center point for the country. For example in 2002 the Ordnance Survey used a 'centre of gravity' method to determine the exact center of Scotland. The center of gravity method looks for the point at which a cardboard cut-out of Scotland could be perfectly balanced on the tip of a pencil. Using this method the OS determined that the center of Scotland is a point located between Blair Atholl and Dalwhinnie.

Alasdair's Where's the Centre of Scotland? interactive map uses a very similar methodology to the OS. The result is that Alasdair's geographical center point is very close to the one found by the Ordnance Survey, close to the village of Dalwhinnie. In his blog post, similarly entitled Where's the Centre of Scotland, Alasdair discusses some of the different ways that you can attempt to calculate the center of Scotland (or any other country). In this discussion he concentrates largely on the question of how you define 'Scotland' and how this affects where its center will be found. 

Alasdair's map also shows Scotland's 'population weighted' center. This point is based on the population distribution of Scotland. It finds the point in the country which is at the center of where people actually live. The population weighted center of Scotland is a lot further south than its geographical center. This is because around 60% of Scots live in the 'Central Belt' of the country (which can very loosely be defined as the thin belt from Glasgow to Edinburgh).

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