WICHITA — The popular Google pin drop, which pinpoints sites on Google maps, has been popping up in a number of strange places worldwide.
For instance, the British tabloid Metro did a story last week about the red Google A, which looks like an upside down teardrop, showing up in a Berkshire roundabout. The paper quoted someone who questioned if it could be linked to a mysterious ghost child who supposedly haunts a nearby bridge.
Artist Aram Bartholl has a project in which he erected a giant red letter A in some cities on the spots that Google says are the centers of the cities.
No one has questioned if a ghost child is involved, but some have wondered if the A might denote what Google thinks is the center of Wichita. That’s not the case, though.
Builders Inc. president Mike Garvey says he was online one day when he saw a man in Germany standing in front of a building with what looked like the Google pin in front of it.
Garvey says he realized it was an imposter pin, but he says, “I was like, that’s a great idea.”
Hoping to bring attention to the apartments, Garvey had a sign company make him a similar pin.
“Some people have noticed it,” he says. “Maybe people drive by it and think it’s a Google pin.”
Garvey says he hasn’t had a lot of feedback, but that doesn’t mean people haven’t noticed.
“We wanted to get a little buzz going, I guess,” he says. “For right now, it’s maybe there just to catch people’s eye a little more.”
Garvey says it’s possible he may do more pins for future construction projects as well.
So if there were to be a physical Google pin that shows the center of Wichita, where should it go?
If you put “Wichita KS” into the Google Maps search bar, the heart of the city appears to be just south of Emprise Bank on Broadway between First and Second streets.
According to the city, the true center of Wichita – minus a couple of straggly areas that would throw everything off – is at 97°20’38.497″W 37°41’27.845″N.
That’s just north of the Veterans Memorial Park of Wichita and across West Central at the Riverview Building where, among other things, LawKingdon Architecture, the Law Co. and the Better Business Bureau are.
Bureau state director Denise Groene says she’s excited to learn she’s working at the heart of the city, and she’s also glad to find out what the pin is doing in front of Corner 365.
“I’ve been wondering what it was for,” says Groene, who passes it every day. “To be honest, I thought it was a pinpoint so the construction people knew they were at the right place.”
Though Groene didn’t know her building, which is at 345 N. Riverview, is the center of the city, she’s not surprised.
“It’s kind of like the place to be in Wichita,” she says. “And the Flying Stove stops by often, so it doesn’t get much better than that, right?”