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Unqualified Areas

I sometimes wonder how Google chooses a precise location for a city/town/etc.

Right now, if you search for "Pittsburgh, PA" or "New York City, NY", you'll get a very precise location that you can zoom in on (same with anywhere else). This is occasionally near the city hall of a place, but often is either not precisely there or isn't even in the ballpark.

The town in which I mostly grew up, Brecksville Ohio, has its unqualified location near the main intersection in the centre of town, not too far from town square and vaguely near the old town hall (by old, I mean you'd probably have to go back before I was born before it was one). It's not remotely near where the current town hall is in Brecksville.

Unqualified Pittsburgh is several streets away from Pittsburgh's city hall.

New York City (my hopefully soon-home, sooner yet if anyone wants a short-term roomate, hint hint) has its unqualified location about two blocks from City Hall.

Is there some official notion of precisely where a city is that Google's picking up, or does it just pick something?


Probably the center of whatever zip code it decides is canonical.
I always did wish when asking for directions from a city in general that it'd not bother with directions from that spot to the major highway.