Proximity to the Temples of North America, Central America, Hawaii, and the Caribbean

Range Map

The graphic above shows proximity to dedicated Latter-day Saint temples on thirteen dates from 1877 to 2006. For the first thirteen frames the colors indicate 150 nautical mile range bands: white, closer than 30 NM; green, between 30 and 150 NM; blue, between 150 and 300 NM; orange, between 300 and 450 NM; purple, between 450 and 600 NM; black, beyond 600 NM. The last five frames repeat dates from 1997 to 2006 with the colors indicating 50 nautical mile range bands: white, closer than 20 NM; green, between 20 and 50 NM; blue, between 50 and 100 NM; orange, between 100 and 150 NM; purple, between 150 and 200 NM; black, beyond 200 NM. Public domain data for coastlines and political boundaries were obtained from the USGS. The website LDSChurchTemples.com was a helpful resource for locating each temple.

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About John Mansfield

Mansfield in the desertA third-generation southern Nevadan, I have lived in exile most of my life in such places as Los Alamos, Baltimore, Los Angeles, the western suburbs of Detroit, and currently the northern suburbs of Washington, D.C. I work as a fluid dynamics engineer. I was baptized at age twelve in the font of the Las Vegas Nevada Central Stake Center, and on my nineteenth birthday I received the endowment in the St. George Temple. I served as a missionary mostly in the Patagonia of Argentina from 1985 to 1987. My true calling in the Church seems to be working with Cub Scouts, whom I have served in different capacities in four states most years since 1992. (My oldest boy turned eight in 2004.) I also currently teach Sunday School to the thirteen-year-olds. I hold degrees from two universities named for men who died in the 1870s, the Brigham Young University and the Johns Hopkins University. My wife is Elizabeth Pack Mansfield, who comes from New Mexico's north central mountains and studied molecular biology at the same two schools I attended. We have four sons, whose care and admonition, along with care of my aged father, require much of Elizabeth's time. She currently serves the Church as Mia-Maid advisor, ward music chairman, and choir director, and plays violin whenever she can. One day, I would like to make shoes.

10 thoughts on “Proximity to the Temples of North America, Central America, Hawaii, and the Caribbean

  1. Nice graphic, John. Wow, a temple in North Dakota … who knew? If leaders can just get around to putting up a couple of temples up in the Northwest Territories and Nunavut, we can cover the whole map.

  2. We’re still four hours from a temple in Miami (six hours on a Friday night). :(

    I know, I know, just a few years ago the closest temple was Washington DC (two day drive) and then it was Atlanta (12 hours away). We should count our blessings.

  3. I believe Vancouver, British Columbia was recently announced, filling in that area.

  4. We’ll lobby the 1st Pres. On your behalf, Geoff!

    Nice graphic! I’d love to see how the coverage looks globally.

  5. Dave, I had similar thoughts on seeing how the map turned out: When does Yellowknife get a temple?
    Geoff, which do you think will get a temple first, Miami or Havana? After Castro dies and the embargo is lifted, …? One concept I hoped to explore with this map is the shift in mindset such that four or six hours travel to a temple now seems far.
    Brian D., if someone can point me to ESRI shapefile geographic data, and if there is interest in seeing it, I would consider drawing similiar maps for other parts of the globe.

  6. It might be interesting to change your criteria from distance in miles, to distance in travel time, which is probably more relevant to the lives of members.

    The point is, as you probably realize, that how long it takes to get to the temple changes as our technology changes. In 1877 traveling 30 miles required a day, while for most of us in the US today, 30 miles takes 1/2 to 1 hour.

    Of course, this is also different in different parts of the world, based on what is widely available to members. In my own experience, the switch from the plan to build a suburban temple in Harrison, New York, to an urban temple in Manhattan, made a significant difference for inner-city members — who can now travel by subway to the temple (usually 1 hour or less) instead of using a more expensive combination of subway or bus, commuter rail and then taxi, which could take 3 hours or more.

  7. Is there a way to pause or slow it down? As soon as I see something interesting that I want to study more closely, it moves on to the next frame.

  8. Left Field, on a Windows or MacIntosh machine, use the Apple QuickTime Player. First, save the figure onto your machine; under Windows, put the mouse cursor over the figure, click the right mouse button, and select “Save Picture As …”. I also tried using the Windows Media Player; it sort of works, but not very well.

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