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Miscellaneous Information

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, establish 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 Colton: 2413231

GNIS ID for Whitman County: 1533501

GNIS ID for Washington: 1779804

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 Colton:

Place (Community) Code:  13890
State Code:  53 (Washington)
County Code:  075 (Whitman 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:  53/13890
State/County Code:  53/075

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

 FIPS Code
translates to    
State of Washington:    53   1779804
Whitman County:    53/075   1533501
Colton:    53/13890   2413231

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

Lat:   46° 34' 4"   (or 46.57°)

Lon:   -117° 7' 41"   (or -117.13°)  

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

Lat:   46° 34' 3"   (or 46.57°)

Lon:   -117° 7' 41"   (or -117.13°)  

The map point defined by the Census Bureau lies 8.84 feet to the south<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:   46° 34' 2"   (or 46.57°)

Lon:   -117° 7' 40"   (or -117.13°)  

The GPS location given for the 2000 Census lies 197.3 feet to the southeast<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. Colton is located in Region #4 (the West Region).

In turn, the US Census Bureau has further divided each Region into Divisions. Colton is located in Division #9 (the Pacific Division).

The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has created ten Federal Regions. Colton is located in Region X (Region 10).

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has created ten Management Regions. Colton is located in Region X (Region 10).

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 town like Colton, it does identify addresses that are in (or near) Colton. 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 Colton: 99113<3>

Referenced GNIS Records ...

GNIS ID #1504078   (Name of Record: Colton)

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: Whitman

Map Name: Colton

Lat: 46.56794       Lon: -117.1284985  

Elev: 781 ft.

GNIS ID #2413231   (Name of Record: Town of Colton)

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: Whitman

Map Name: Colton

Lat: 46.5677949       Lon: -117.1283  

Elev: 781 ft.

Referenced FIPS Records ...

FIPS Code: 53/13890   (Place Name: Colton)

County: Whitman     (FIPS State/County: 53/075)

Class: C1

Identifies an incorporated place (ie- Colton) 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- Whitman County).

GSA Code: 400

MRF Code: 240

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

The official website for Whitman County:

The official website for State of Washington:

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 188 degrees and a distance of 8.84 feet.
<2>The calculated bearing (or angle) to the 2000 Census location is 207 degrees and a distance of 197.3 feet.
<3>When looking for a ZIP Code, whether Colton 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/updated: 07 Apr 2024