What happens after the year 2020 ?

The GDA2020 datum is only the first part of a larger picture. The 1.8m shift seems trivial (and to many, it is), however, it’s a necessary step on the way to the main event. And that is the ATRF - the Australian Terrestrial Reference Frame.

This second part of the transition (the 1st part being the 1.8m shift) entails every position in Australia having a known position (e.g. Latitude & Longtitude) and also an epoch. An epoch is simply a date - it’s a poor choice of words, but we’re stuck with it. This coordinate and epoch together is the practical result of the ATRF.

The end result is that the four corners of your block have a known lat & long when it was surveyed at a specific time. And since we know how far the tectonic plate has moved since that time, we can also calculate its’ lat and long today, by shifting those coordinates by 70mm for each year that has elapsed since then. In future, you will be able to say that the top of Mt Kosciuszko was at Grid Reference x,y on a specific date, and you can calculate its’ current grid reference based on the weeks that have elapsed since that date.

The bottom line is that the GDA2020 and subsequent ATRF will hopefully be the last ever datum change we will need.


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