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2:00 pm
Mon March 17, 2014

New Research Concludes Kansas Is Not The Flattest State

Flatter than a pancake?! Maybe in some parts.
Credit Mudkipz_KGM / Flickr--CC

You may have caught wind of a study conducted about a decade ago claiming the state of Kansas was indeed flatter than a pancake. 

Using the 'flattening ratio,' researchers in the geography departments at the University of Texas and Arizona State University concluded the topography of Kansas was flatter than that of a "well-cooked pancake" from the International House of Pancakes (IHOP)

That study was playful, yet totally legit. But by focusing only on Kansas, it left out a lot of context, which researchers from the University of Kansas recently worked to provide.

Prof. Jerry Dobson and graduate student Josh Campbell used geographic software, elevation data from NASA's Shuttle Radar Topography Mission, and a new algorithm to measure the flatness of the contiguous United States.

Their conclusion: Kansas is flat, but nowhere near the flattest.

In fact, Kansas didn't even make the top five. Here's the 10 flattest states,  based on the percentage of what the researchers pegged as "flat," "flatter," and "flattest" terrain:

  • Florida
  • Illinois
  • North Dakota
  • Louisiana
  • Minnesota
  • Delaware
  • Kansas
  • Texas
  • Nevada
  • Indiana

Dobson says the misperception of Kansas as the flattest state affects the state's pride and the economy.

"Part of it comes from being distant in the big middle of the country, " said Dobson in a release. "But more of it comes from the erroneous image of being totally flat and treeless. That affects recruiting people for jobs; many candidates never apply simply because they think of Kansas as flat and boring."

So apply for those Kansas jobs, people. And when you get here take a drive through the Flint Hills, and soak up Kansas and all its un-flat glory.

(h/t: The Atlantic)

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