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GDA2020 in Queensland

Australia is in the process of upgrading its geocentric datum to GDA2020 to keep pace with changing technologies and the dynamic nature of the Earth’s surface. GDA2020 will replace GDA94 as the current datum.

Organisations that work with accurate spatial information or rely on location-positioning need to be aware of this change.

Implementing the change

The Intergovernmental Committee on Surveying and Mapping (ICSM) is leading the change nationally and the Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy is responsible for implementing the change to GDA2020 in Queensland.

We are currently considering how we can technically adopt GDA2020 in our current systems and in a new environment as part of the Cadastre QLD Transformation project.

Timeframes and stages

Australia's national datum will be modernised in 2 stages:

  • Stage 1 will define GDA2020, which is 1.8 metres north-east of GDA94.
  • Stage 2 will establish a different kind of location reference system called a dynamic datum. This will continually account for Australia's movement, meaning we can rely on location information being in perfect alignment with the devices we use to access it.

National stakeholder survey

ICSM has released a short online survey to measure the current level of knowledge and understanding of GDA2020. The results will be used to inform how the new datum is implemented.

Please take a moment to complete the survey before Friday 22 December.

Information sessions

Throughout 2017 we met with more than 1,000 surveying, engineering and spatial professionals in Brisbane, Rockhampton, Townsville, Emerald, Cairns, Mackay, Hervey Bay and the Sunshine Coast about:

  • what datum is
  • why we need to change to a new national datum
  • Queensland’s approach to planning for the implementation of GDA2020
  • how we are approaching the technical implementation within the state Survey Control Database (SCDB) and Digital Cadastral Database (DCDB).

We will be holding more information sessions from mid to late-2018 as an ‘adoption’ date for Queensland becomes clearer. Register your interest in attending future sessions by emailing qldgda2020@dnrm.qld.gov.au.

Stakeholder consultation

To confirm an adoption date we will consult with stakeholders to make sure that:

  • we have the technical capability to manage the change in the SCDB and DCDB
  • the majority of stakeholders in Queensland, and nationally, are ready to transition at a similar time.

Why do we need a new datum?

GDA94 coordinates tell us where things are in Australia—but these coordinates locate features as if our continental tectonic plate was fixed in 1994. Because our tectonic plate moves approximately 7cm per year, GDA94 coordinates will be out of position relative to a global reference frame by 1.8m in 2020.

Many information systems use satellite positioning systems that have a coordinate framework fixed to the centre of the earth, rather than our tectonic plate. These systems regularly adjust to the current coordinates to maintain accuracy.

However, the difference between Australia's current geocentric datum and global systems will soon be obvious—even to smartphone users—so measures are needed to bring both into alignment and improve the accuracy of how features are located on maps.

Modernising Australia's Datum.

Find out more

National resources

The ICSM website provides more information about modernising Australia's datum, including:

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Last updated: 15 December 2017


The Department of Natural Resources and Mines is an economic development agency that enables the productive and responsible use of our natural resources – water, land, mineral and energy resources – to generate wealth and prosperity for current and future generations of Queenslanders.

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