How Australia plans to fix its GPS gap
Australia is about to shift its longitude and latitude to address a gap between its local co-ordinates and those from global navigation satellite systems (GNSS). Australia moves about 7 centimetres north annually due tectonic movements.
The Geocentric Datum of Australia, the country's local co-ordinate system, was last updated in 1994. Since then, Australia has moved about 1.5 metres north due to tectonic movement. By the start of 2017, the country's local co-ordinates will also be shifted further north - by 1.8 metres.
The body responsible for the change said it would help the development of self-driving cars, which need accurate location data to navigate.
Satellites provide location data based on global lines of longitude and latitude, which do not move even if the continents on Earth shift. However, many countries produce maps and measurements with the lines of longitude and latitude fixed to their local continent.
The over-correction means Australia's local co-ordinates and the Earth's global co-ordinates will align in 2020.
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