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Vestavia Hills, Alabama
(Jefferson County)

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 The location of Vestavia Hills 

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(Location provided by the GNIS)
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Vestavia Hills
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 number 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 Vestavia Hills: 2405646

GNIS ID for Jefferson County: 161562

GNIS ID for Alabama: 1779775

FIPS Codes ...

In a past effort, various federal agencies worked together to create 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 Vestavia Hills:

Place (Community) Code:  78552
State Code:  01 (Alabama)
County Code:  073 (Jefferson 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:  01/78552
State/County Code:  01/073

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
Jefferson County:    01/073   161562
Vestavia Hills:    01/78552   2405646

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 Vestavia Hills, it is a point within Vestavia Hills 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 Vestavia Hills, the GNIS GPS location is given as:

Lat:   33° 27' 13"   (or 33.45°)

Lon:   -86° 44' 22"   (or -86.74°)   [Map]

Determined by its statistical needs, the Census Bureau has defined a sampling area for Vestavia Hills - 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 Vestavia Hills, the Census 2010 GPS location is given as:

Lat:   33° 27' 44"   (or 33.46°)

Lon:   -86° 44' 22"   (or -86.74°)   [Map]

The map point defined by the Census Bureau lies 3,141 feet to the north<1> of the point given by the GNIS (see above).

You might note that the GPS location given for the 2010 Census is different than the location that was specified by the 2000 Census:

Lat:   33° 25' 59"   (or 33.43°)

Lon:   -86° 46' 44"   (or -86.78°)   [Map]

The GPS location given for the 2000 Census lies 3 miles to the southwest<2> of the point given by the 2010 Census.

Regional Codes ...

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

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

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

Referenced GNIS Records ...

GNIS ID #153841   (Name of Record: Vestavia Hills)

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: Jefferson

Map Name: Birmingham South

Lat: 33.4487183       Lon: -86.7877668   [Map]

Elev: 290

GNIS ID #2405646   (Name of Record: City of Vestavia Hills)

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: Jefferson

Map Name: Cahaba Heights

Lat: 33.4538805       Lon: -86.739704   [Map]

Elev: 214

Referenced FIPS Records ...

FIPS Code: 01/78552   (Place Name: Vestavia Hills)

County: Jefferson     (FIPS State/County: 01/073      Count/Seq: 02/01)

Class: C1

Identifies an incorporated place (ie- Vestavia Hills) 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- Jefferson County).

GSA Code: 3125

MRF Code: 1755

MSA Code: 1000

Other Roadside Stops ...

Search for a Community located in Alabama

About Jefferson 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

The official website for Vestavia Hills:

The official website for Jefferson County:

The official website for State of Alabama:

Footnotes ...

<1>The calculated bearing (or the angle) to the GNIS-supplied location is 358 degrees.

- Return to Citation

<2>The calculated bearing (or the angle) to the 2000 Census location is 131 degrees.

- Return to Citation

For additional information, please visit our Glossary for Vestavia Hills.


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