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GDA2020 in Queensland

The system that underlies Australia’s location information—known as the Geocentric Datum of Australia (GDA)—is undergoing changes to bring our national coordinates into line with satellite positioning systems, making it possible for smartphones and other positioning technologies to accurately align with features marked on our maps.

Australia's new national datum will be called GDA2020. It will replace GDA94—the current datum.

Organisations that work with accurate spatial information or rely on location-positioning technologies will 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 and Mines is responsible for implementing the change to GDA2020 in Queensland.

The department is currently considering how it can technically adopt GDA2020 within its current systems and in a new environment as part of the Cadastral and Geodetic Services Systems Review project.

Timeframes and stages

Australia's national datum will be modernised in two 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.

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
  • the majority of stakeholders are ready to transition at a similar time.

Information sessions

The department will hold a series of information sessions about GDA2020 in mid-to-late 2017. These sessions will allow organisations that generate or integrate location data to start thinking about the new datum, plan for possible updates to their systems and datasets, and share information with other stakeholders.

To register to attend, or to find out more about these sessions, email qldgda2020@dnrm.qld.gov.au.

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 with GDA2020, including:

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Last updated: 6 September 2017


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