Lawrence is the center of the world for more than Jayhawk fans

It looks like Lawrence is at the center of the earth — at least, according to Google Earth it is. More specifically, Meadowbrook Apartments, near the intersection of Bob Billings Parkway and Crestline Drive, is at the center of the earth.

Google Earth is a program on the Internet in which you can see a distant view of the earth for free. By using the zoom feature, you magnify the planet, which eventually zooms in on Lawrence.

Brian McClendon, director of engineering for Google Earth is responsible for the Web site. He lived in Lawrence for 15 years and eventually graduated from the University of Kansas with a Bachelors of Science in Electrical Engineering in 1986.

While McClendon was working for Google, he co-founded Keyhole, which was then acquired by Google.

“I just modified it slightly one day a couple years ago,” he said. “Last year, Keyhole was renamed Google Earth, released as a free product, and the rest is history.”

McClendon wasn’t contacted by the apartment complex, but he called and said a manager seemed fine with it.

“We’re really happy about it,” said Roberta Floyd, resident manager.

Molly Bachand, Kansas City, Kan., senior, said, “It’s interesting that of all the places in the world it could land, it lands here in Lawrence.”

To actually see Lawrence though, the zoom feature has to be used. Someone who does not know of the Lawrence connection may never see it.

“It’d be cool if, as soon as you opened up the Google Earth site, it zoomed in on Lawrence on it’s own,” Bachand said. “But it’s still weird to think that it looks like we’re at the center.”

— Edited by Jodi Ann Holopirek

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