What is GDA2020 all about ?

Welcome to GDA2020 the new datum for all of Australia.

You may be aware that Australia is moving…. very slowly towards the equator. It’s about 1.5mm every week, a little faster than your fingernails grow! So after 20 years that adds up to a shift of close to 1.8 meters to the North. And this will continue for the foreseeable future.

It’s a little more interesting than that, we’re also rotating v. slightly… the western states are moving a little faster than the eastern states, so if the current movement continues, then in around ten million years we might have to start calling Western Australia something more appropriate. Maybe New Northern Australia, The Equatorial State, ….

Of course, none of this is anything to worry about; it’s just plate tectonics doing its’ thing, at a pace that’s even slower than most glaciers. Every continent is floating on the hot liquid underneath, nothing stays still.

So what’s all this got to do with GDA2020 ? And why should a 1.8 meter shift in coordinates concern us ?

Well… the only people to really worry about this are a few Surveyors, a few Map Specialists (maybe those at your local council), and a very small number of organisations that need absolute centimeter precision every year.

If you’re anyone else then it’s not a problem…. But if you’re expecting an Amazon drone delivery - 1.8 meters might mean your new selfie stick gets delivered to next door… so you’d better hope the smart guys organising all this stuff get it right.

Bushwalkers, rogainers, emergency services and anyone who ever needs to look at a Topographic map shouldn’t see too many changes either - here’s why.

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