Australia drifts away from GNSS measurements

August 2, 2016  - By

Australia is moving north at the rate of approximately 2.75 inches per year, causing it to be out of sync with GNSS positioning by nearly five feet, reports the BBC. Scientists are working to correct the measurement problems this situation creates.

The shift, caused by normal tectonic movement, is causing a discrepancy that would interfere in the future use of self-driving cars. Another affected industry is precision agriculture, where self-driving tractors till fields.

The Australian government has launched a project to align with GNSS. To do this, the Geocentric Datum of Australia will need to be updated with correct coordinates — which hasn’t been done since 1994 — despite the fact that Australia rests on the fastest moving continental tectonic plate on Earth.

On Jan. 1, 2017, Australia’s local coordinates will be shifted north by 5.9 feet. The update to the local coordinate system will overshoot to account for more movement and predict where the continent will be in 2020.

This is posted in Featured Stories, GNSS, Latest News

2 Comments on "Australia drifts away from GNSS measurements"

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  1. Rick Wills says:

    I wonder if the motion of the continent is actually uniform. The very shape of Australia suggests a northward distortion with its north-south centerline. Perhaps there are drag points at the east and west extremities, or simply more elasticity at its center.

    For some time I have also been wondering when this effect was going to be realized for the United States. This is the first time I have heard anyone speak of it.


    • shyks says:

      It’s easily realized in a small country where the shift is assumed nearly uniform hence the curvature correction are minimal.