A Gazetteer for the United States and Canada

Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania
(Cumberland County)

Nearby Census Genealogy
Cemeteries Tidbits &
Other PA

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 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 Mechanicsburg: 1215149

GNIS ID for Cumberland County: 1209176

GNIS ID for Pennsylvania: 1779798

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 Mechanicsburg:

Place (Community) Code:  48376
State Code:  42 (Pennsylvania)
County Code:  041 (Cumberland 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:  42/48376
State/County Code:  42/041

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 Pennsylvania:    42   1779798
Cumberland County:    42/041   1209176
Mechanicsburg:    42/48376   1215149

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

Lat:   40° 12' 43"   (or 40.21°)

Lon:   -77° 0' 14"   (or -77°)   [Map]

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

Lat:   40° 12' 41"   (or 40.21°)

Lon:   -77° 0' 21"   (or -77.01°)   [Map]

The map point defined by the Census Bureau lies 547 feet to the southwest<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:   40° 12' 43"   (or 40.21°)

Lon:   -77° 0' 22"   (or -77.01°)   [Map]

The GPS location given for the 2000 Census lies 256.7 feet to the north<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. Mechanicsburg is located in Region #1 (the Northeast Region).

In turn, the US Census Bureau has further divided each Region into Divisions. Mechanicsburg is located in Division #2 (the Middle Atlantic Division).

The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has created ten Federal Regions. Mechanicsburg is located in Region III (Region 3).

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has created ten Management Regions. Mechanicsburg is located in Region III (Region 3).

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 community like Mechanicsburg, it does identify addresses that are in (or near) Mechanicsburg. 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 Mechanicsburg: 17055<3>

Referenced GNIS Records ...

GNIS ID #1180844   (Name of Record: Mechanicsburg)

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: Cumberland

Map Name: Mechanicsburg

Lat: 40.2142565       Lon: -77.0085876   [Map]

Elev: 132 ft.

GNIS ID #1215149   (Name of Record: Borough of Mechanicsburg)

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: Cumberland

Map Name: Mechanicsburg

Lat: 40.2120343       Lon: -77.004143   [Map]

Elev: 136 ft.

Referenced FIPS Records ...

FIPS Code: 42/48376   (Place Name: Mechanicsburg)

County: Cumberland     (FIPS State/County: 42/041)

Class: C5

GSA Code: 5010

MRF Code: 6353

MSA Code: 3240

Other Roadside Stops ...

Communities in Pennsylvania

About Cumberland County

About Pennsylvania

Off-the-Road Links ...

The official website for Mechanicsburg:

The official website for State of Pennsylvania:

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 of the U.S. Office of Management and Budget (OMB)

The official website of the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)

Footnotes ...

<1>The calculated bearing (or angle) to the GNIS-supplied location is 114 degrees and a distance of 547 feet.
<2>The calculated bearing (or angle) to the 2000 Census location is 13 degrees and a distance of 256.7 feet.
<3>When looking for a ZIP Code, whether Mechanicsburg or elsewhere, it's always best to check the website of the United States Postal Service (USPS).




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This page was last modified: 27 Apr 2022