ICSM releases geospatial reference compendium

By on 23 August, 2022

Image credit: ©stock.adobe.com/au/Oleksii

Australia’s Intergovernmental Committee on Surveying and Mapping’s (ICSM) Geodesy Working Group has released a major new document, the Australian Geospatial Reference System Compendium, which presents a detailed overview of all the foundational elements that make up Australia’s geospatial reference system.

The 148-page document outlines the 10-year effort by the ICSM to upgrade “elements of the Australian Geospatial Reference System (AGRS) to improve the accuracy with which spatial data can be aligned and combined with precise positioning data”.

That upgrade includes:

  • Geocentric Datum of Australia 2020 (GDA2020): Australia’s new static datum
  • Australian Terrestrial Reference Frame 2014 (ATRF2014): Australia’s first time-dependent coordinate reference frame, which moves with the Australian plate (~7 cm/year).
  • DynAdjust: World-first software able to compute a continental scale least squares adjustment of all geodetic data (~2 million measurements) to define GDA2020 and ATRF2014.
  • AUSGeoid2020: World-first geoid model which provides location specific uncertainty; thus providing users with a rigorous method of deriving Australian Height Datum heights with uncertainty directly from GNSS.
  • Commonwealth Law Changes: The ICSM worked with the National Measurement Institute to update the Recognised Value Standard for Measurement of Position in Australia to legally recognise both static (GDA2020) and time-variable coordinate reference frames (ATRF2014).
  • Australian Vertical Working Surface (AVWS): A new vertical datum enabling more accurate conversion of GNSS heights to mean sea level heights.
  • GeodesyML: Development and release of the Geodesy Markup Language standard, which aims to make geodetic data more Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reusable (FAIR).

“With the growing dependence on position, navigation and timing (PNT) information in a range of industries (e.g. space, intelligent transport, mobile apps etc.) the demand for people with geodesy skills is only going to grow,” said Nicholas Brown, Director of National Geodesy at Geoscience Australia, and one of the authors of the Compendium.

Brown says that undertaking the AGRS update alone isn’t enough.

“We also have a duty to explain geodesy as best we can so that new and emerging industries can incorporate PNT information into the new applications… that will help blind people navigate, save farmers money and make workplaces safer,” he said.

The incredibly detailed document covers everything one could ever want to know about the datums, models and standards that underpin all positioning and location services in Australia, now and into the future.

It also provides an in-depth look at the strategic direction, governance and infrastructure systems in place, and interdependencies between requirements, organisations and international efforts.

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