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A Gazetteer for the United States and Canada
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Chelsea, Alabama
(Shelby County)

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 The location of Chelsea 

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and the surrounding area.

Various Identification Codes ...

GNIS Codes ...

The U.S. Board on Geographic Names (BGN) was created to address the problems caused by spelling and naming variations. The BGN will usually recognize an existing name or, when necessary, chose a new name for a geographic feature (such as a mountain, lake, river, stream, city, town, village, dam, bridge, etc).

The BGN names are kept in a database called the Geographic Names Information System (GNIS) and it is the official Federal repository. The GNIS is operated and maintained by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).

A unique and permanent code has been assigned for each name in the GNIS database. These names and identifiers are definitive and it is intended that they are to be used by all departments of the Federal Government:

GNIS ID for Chelsea: 2404037

GNIS ID for Shelby County: 161584

GNIS ID for Alabama: 1779775

FIPS Codes ...

In a past effort, various federal agencies created a set of codes with a purpose similar to the GNIS codes. These codes are called the Federal Information Processing Standard (or the FIPS 55 codes). Although they are still used by some organizations, the FIPS codes are obsolete and will ultimately be replaced by the GNIS codes.

The following FIPS codes apply to Chelsea:

Place (Community) Code:  14104
State Code:  01 (Alabama)
County Code:  117 (Shelby County)

Since the Place and County FIPS codes are not unique and can be repeated in other States, it's necessary to combine the State code with the Place and County FIPS codes to uniquely identify them - for example:

State/Place Code:  01/14104
State/County Code:  01/117

As already mentioned, the FIPS codes are to be replaced by the GNIS codes. The following reflect those changes:

 FIPS Code   translates to   GNIS Code
State of Alabama:    01   1779775
Shelby County:    01/117   161584
Chelsea:    01/14104   2404037

GPS Location - GNIS vs Census ...

An important aspect of the GNIS code is that it assigns a GPS location (the latitude/longitude) to the geographic feature. This location is simply a point on the map and does not represent the size or shape of the feature. In the case of Chelsea, it is a point within Chelsea that might be a post office, the city hall or simply an intersection - the point should really be considered arbitrary and only indicating a general location.

For Chelsea, the GNIS GPS location is given as:

Lat:   33° 19' 33"   (or 33.33°)

Lon:   -86° 38' 7"   (or -86.64°)   [Map]

Determined by its statistical needs, the Census Bureau has defined a sampling area for Chelsea - this area also contains a map point. As with the GNIS code, the location of the Census point should be considered as being arbitrary within the sampling area.

For Chelsea, the Census 2010 GPS location is given as:

Lat:   33° 19' 33"   (or 33.33°)

Lon:   -86° 38' 12"   (or -86.64°)   [Map]

The map point defined by the Census Bureau lies 360.7 feet to the west<1> of the point given by the GNIS (see above).

Regional Codes ...

For statistical purposes, the US Census Bureau has divided the country into four Regions. Chelsea is located in Region #3 (the South Region).

In turn, the US Census Bureau has further divided each Region into Divisions. Chelsea is located in Division #6 (the East South-Central Division).

The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has created ten Federal Regions. Chelsea is located in Region IV (Region 4).

ZIP Codes ...

While some people have used a ZIP code to identify a community, the purpose of the ZIP code was to make mail delivery more efficient by grouping addresses together. Although the ZIP Code doesn't specifically identify a city like Chelsea, it does identify addresses that are in (or near) Chelsea. It's important to remember that the boundaries of a ZIP Code are defined by the needs of the USPS and can be changed, re-assigned or overlapped with other ZIP Codes.

The ZIP code for Chelsea: 35043<2>

Referenced GNIS Records ...

GNIS ID #115991   (Name of Record: Chelsea)

Class: populated place

A place or area having clustered or scattered buildings and a permanent population (such as a city, settlement, town or village). The boundaries may or may not coincide with the perceived population.

A 'populated place' record may have a corresponding 'census' or 'civil' record. The information contained in the 'populated place' record applies only to the class and should not be confused with either the 'census' and 'civil' classes.

County: Shelby

Map Name: Chelsea

Lat: 33.3401108       Lon: -86.6302625   [Map]

Elev: 156

GNIS ID #2404037   (Name of Record: City of Chelsea)

Class: civil

A political division formed for administrative purposes (such as a borough, county, incorporated place, parish, town or township).

A 'civil' record may have a corresponding 'census' or 'populated place' record. The information contained in the 'civil' record applies only to the class and should not be confused with either the 'census' and 'populated place' classes.

County: Shelby

Map Name: Chelsea

Lat: 33.326081       Lon: -86.635496   [Map]

Elev: 158

Referenced FIPS Records ...

FIPS Code: 01/14104   (Place Name: Chelsea)

County: Shelby     (FIPS State/County: 01/117)

Class: C1

Identifies an incorporated place (ie- Chelsea) that does not serve as a primary county division - or in other words, it is included in and is part of a primary county division (ie- Shelby County).

GSA Code: 655

MRF Code: 357

MSA Code: 1000

Other Roadside Stops ...

Find a Community located in Alabama

About Shelby County

About Alabama

Off-the-Road Links ...

The official website of the U.S. Board on Geographic Names (BGN)

The official website of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)

The official website of the U.S. Census Bureau

Unfortunately, we don't know of a website for Chelsea. If you can help, please contact us through our Feedback Page.

The official website for Shelby County:

The official website for State of Alabama:

Footnotes ...

<1>The calculated bearing (or the angle) to the GNIS-supplied location is 94 degrees.

- Return to Citation

<2>When looking for a ZIP Code, whether Chelsea or elsewhere, it's always best to check the website of the United States Postal Service (USPS).

- Return to Citation

For additional information, please visit our Glossary for Chelsea.


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This page was last modified: 19 Oct 2016
By John Hall