2 The New England Datum 1879 was the first geodetic datum of this type in the United States. The reference ellipsoid was Clarke 1866 mentioned earlier, with a semimajor axis, a, of km and a flattening, f, of 1/ The initial point chosen for the New England Datum was a station known as Principio in Maryland, near the center of the region of primary concern at the time. The dimensions of the ellipsoid were defined, Principio s latitude and longitude along with the azimuth from Principio to station Turkey Point were both derived from astronomic observations and the datum was oriented to the Earth by five parameters.
3 Then successful surveying of the first transcontinental arc of triangulation in 1899 connected it to the surveys on the Pacific coast. Other work tied in surveying near the Gulf of Mexico and the system was much extended to the south and the west. It was officially re-named the United States Standard Datum in 1901.
4 A new initial point at Meade s Ranch in Kansas eventually replaced Principio. An azimuth was measured from this new initial point to station Waldo. Because even though the Clarke 1866 ellipsoid fits North America very well, it does not conform perfectly. As the scope of triangulation across the country grew the new initial point was chosen near the center of the continental United States to best distribute the inevitable distortion.
5 When Canada and Mexico agreed to incorporate their control networks into the United States Standard Datum the name was changed again to North American Datum Further adjustments were required because of the constantly increasing number of surveying measurements. This growth and readjustment eventually led to the establishment of the North American Datum 1927(NAD27).
6 Before, during and for some time after this period the five constants mentioned were considered sufficient to define the datum. The latitude and longitude of the initial point were two. For NAD27 the latitude of 39º13'26". 686 Nϕ and longitude of 98º32'30". 506 Wλ were specified as the coordinates of the Meade s Ranch initial point. The next two parameters described the ellipsoid itself, for the Clarke 1866 ellipsoid these are a semimajor axis of 6,378,206.4m and a semiminor axis of 6,356,583.6m. That makes four parameters.
7 And finally an azimuth from the initial point to a reference point for orientation was needed. The azimuth from Meade s Ranch to station Waldo was fixed at 75º28'09". 64. Together these five values were enough to orient the Clarke 1866 ellipsoid to the Earth and fully define the NAD27 datum.
8 Still other values were sometimes added to the five minimum parameters during the same era, for example, the geoidal height of the initial point, more about geoidal height later. Also the assumption was sometimes made that the minor axis of the ellipsoid was parallel to the rotational axis of the Earth, and/or the deflection of the vertical at the initial point was sometimes considered. For the definition of NAD27, both the geoidal height and the deflection of the vertical were assumed to be zero. That meant it was often assumed that, for all practical purposes the ellipsoid and what was known as Mean Sea Level were substantially the same. As measurement has become more sophisticated that assumption has been abandoned.
9 In any case, once the initial point and directions were fixed, the whole orientation of NAD27 was established. And following a major readjustment, completed in the early 1930 s, it was named the North American Datum 1927(NAD27).
10 NAD83, WGS84 This old approach made sense before satellite data was available. The center of the Clarke 1866 ellipsoid as utilized in NAD27 was thought to reside somewhere around the center of mass of the Earth, but the real concern had been the initial point on the surface of the Earth not its center. As it worked out the center of NAD27 reference ellipsoid and the center of the Earth are more than 100 meters apart. In other words NAD27, like most old regional datums, is not geocentric. Hardly a drawback in the early twentieth century, but today truly geocentric datums are the goal. The new approach is to make modern datums as nearly geocentric as possible.
11 NAD83, WGS84 Geocentric refers to the center of the Earth, of course, but more particularly it means that the center of an ellipsoid and the center of mass of the planet are as nearly coincident as possible. It is fairly well agreed that the best datum for modern applications should be geocentric and they should have worldwide rather than regional coverage. These two ideas are due, in large measure, to the fact that satellites orbit around the center of mass of the Earth.
12 NAD83, WGS84 And as mentioned earlier it is also pertinent that coordinates are now routinely derived from measurements made by the same satellite-based systems, like GPS. These developments are the impetus for many of the changes in geodesy and have made a geocentric datum an eminently practical idea. And so it has happened that satellites and the coordinates derived from them provide the raw material for the realization of modern datums.
13 Realization of a Geodetic Datum The concrete manifestation of a datum is known as its realization. The realization of a datum is the actual marking and collection of coordinates on stations throughout the region covered by the datum. In other words, it is the creation of the physical network of reference points on the actual Earth. This is a datum ready to go to work. For example, the users of NAD27 could hardly have begun all their surveys from the datum s initial point in central Kansas.
14 So the NGS, as did mapping organizations around the world, produced high quality surveys that established a network of points usually monumented by small punch marks in bronze disks set in concrete or rock throughout the country. These disks and their coordinates became the realization of the datum, its transformation from an abstract idea into something real. It is this same process that contributes to a datum maturation and evolution. Just as the surveying of chains of quadrilaterals measured by classic triangulation were the realization of The New England Datum 1879, as the measurements grew, they drove its evolution into NAD27. Surveying and the subsequent setting and coordination of stations on the Earth continue to contribute to the maturation of geodetic datums today.
15 In the past the vast majority of coordinates involved would be determined by classical surveying as described above. Originally triangulation work was done with theodolites, towers, and tapes. The measurements were Earth-bound and the resulting stations were solidly anchored to the ground too like the thousands of Ordnance Survey triangulation pillars on British hilltops, and the million or more bronze disks set across the United States. These Terrestrial Reference Frames provide users with accessible, stable references so that positioning work can commence from them. But now there is another, very different, Terrestrial Reference Frame available to us. It is orbiting 20,000 km above the Earth and broadcasts its coordinates to anyone with a receiver in real time, 24 hours a day and 7 days a week, the satellites of the Global Positioning System (GPS).
16 The relationship between the centers of reference ellipsoids and Earth s center was not an important consideration before space-based geodesy. Regional reference ellipsoids were the rule. Even after the advent of the first electronic distance measurement devices, the general approach to surveying still involved the determination of horizontal coordinates by measuring from point to point on the Earth's surface and adding heights, otherwise known as elevations, separately.
17 So while the horizontal coordinates of a particular station would end up on the ellipsoid, the elevation, or height would not. In the past the precise definition of the details of this situation was not really an overriding concern. Because the horizontal and vertical coordinates of a station were derived from different operations they lay on different surfaces whether the datum was truly geocentric or not was not really pertinent. One consequence of this approach is the polar and equatorial axes of older, non-geocentric ellipsoid do not coincide with the polar axis and equatorial plane of the actual Earth. The axis of the ellipsoid and the axis of the Earth were often assumed to be parallel and within a few hundred meters of each other.
18 5 Satellite positioning, and more specifically GPS, made it clear that the accuracy of surveying had made a qualitative leap. It was also apparent that adjusting satellitederived measurements to fit the less accurate coordinates available from NAD27 was untenable. A new datum was needed. A datum that was geocentric like the orbits of the satellites themselves. A datum that could support a three-dimensional Cartesian coordinate system and thereby contribute to clear defining both the horizontal and vertical aspects of the new coordinates.
19 NAD83 We re not in Kansas anymore So the North American Datum of 1983 replaced the North American Datum of The new datum was fundamentally different.
20 Tools became available to connect points and accurately determine coordinates on one global reference surface. Of the many space-based techniques that emerged in the 1980 s and matured in the 1990 s, the Global Positioning System (GPS) is of particular importance. The receivers are relatively small, cheap, and easy to operate. And the millimeter to centimeter level of positioning accuracy has been widely demonstrated over long baselines. Even though initially, very few GPS observations were used in the establishment of NAD83 It took more than 10 years to readjust and redefine the horizontal coordinate system of North America into NAD83. More than 1.7 million weighted classical surveying observations were involved, some 30,000 EDM-measured baselines, 5,000 astronomic azimuths, about 655 Doppler stations positioned using the TRANSIT satellite system and about 112 Very Long Baseline Interferometry (VLBI) vectors. In short, the North American Datum of 1983, NAD83 can be said to be the first civilian coordinate system established using satellite positioning. And it was much more accurate than NAD27.
21 h"p://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/file:datum_shi9_between_nad27_and_nad83.png So when NAD83 coordinates were implemented across the United States, coordinates shifted. Across a small area the coordinate shift between the two datums is almost constant, and in some areas the shift is slight. In fact the smallest differences occur in the middle of the United States.
22 h"p://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/file:datum_shi9_between_nad27_and_nad83.png However, as the area considered grows one can see there is a significant, systematic variation between NAD27 coordinates and NAD83 coordinates. The differences can grow from about -0.7" to + 1.5" in latitude, that is up to almost 50m north-south. The change between NAD27 and NAD83 coordinates is generally larger east-west from -2.0" to about +5.0" in longitude, which means the maximum differences can be over 100m in that direction. The longitudinal shifts are actually a bit larger than that in Alaska, ranging up to 12.0 in longitude.
23 The NSRS has evolved 1 Million Monuments (Separate Horizontal and Vertical Systems) 70,000 Passive Marks (3-Dimensional) Passive Marks (Limited Knowledge of Stability) " 1,500+ GPS CORS (Time Dependent System Possible; 4- Dimensional) GPS CORS GNSS CORS
24 Continuously Operating Reference Stations The symbols on this map are control stations with known latitudes, longitudes and heights on which GPS receivers operate continuously. In other words, 24-hours a day and 7 days a week these stations have receivers on them that record data from the GPS constellation. That data is made available for free online from NGS and serves as the foundation for positioning in the United States and its territories. For example, when GPS data is collected at an unknown station it can be processed with data from a CORS station to produce positions that have centimeter-level accuracy in relation to the NSRS - for free.
25 And the evolution of NAD83 has continued from its original incarnation in As GPS measurements became more common they turned out to be more accurate than the coordinates assigned to the network of control points on the ground when NAD83 was first rolled out. NAD83 needed to be refined. Initially states took the lead and the federal agency that administers datums in the United States, the National Geodetic Survey (NGS) participated in cooperative work that resulted in readjustments. The National Geodetic Service, NGS, an office of NOAA's National Ocean Service, is the arm of the United States federal government that defines and manages the National Spatial Reference System, NSRS In any case the new refinements that resulted from the cooperative work were referred to with a suffix, such as NAD83(1991) and the term High Precision GPS Network or HPGN was used originally. This evolved further and the term High Accuracy Reference Network or HARN is the name most often associated with those past improvements of NAD83. How did those earlier adjustments of NAD83 relate to one another?
26 "It should be noted that the NAD 83 (HARN) latitude and/or longitude of a given control point may differ by up to a meter from its corresponding NAD 83 (1986) coordinate." Modern Terrestrial Reference Systems PART 2: The Evolution of NAD 83 Dr. Richard A. Snay and Dr. Tomás Soler PROFESSIONAL SURVEYOR February 2000 All Rights Reserved
27 "8. I have coordinates on different realizations. How do I transform between NAD27, NAD 83(1986), NAD 83(HARN) and NAD 83(NSRS2007)? NADCON will transform any coordinates on NAD27 or NAD 83(1986) to NAD 83(HARN). The shifts from NAD 83(HARN) to NAD 83(NSRS2007) are in the 1 to 3 centimeter range. Initial tests indicated that the shifts were too small, the accuracy of the shifts too large, and sparseness of the data too great to produce a useful transformation to NAD 83(NSRS2007). Users who wish to transform existing surveys from an older version of NAD 83 into NAD 83(NSRS2007) are urged to re-compute coordinates using original observations and newly published NAD 83(NSRS2007) coordinates." NAD 83(NSRS2007) National Readjustment
28 TODAY NAD (epoch 2010) And the process of refinement has continued. Most recently you have seen NAD83(2011).
32 The National Geodetic Survey 10 year plan Mission, Vision and Strategy Official NGS policy as of Jan 9, 2008 Modernized agency Attention to accuracy Attention to time-changes Improved products and services Integration with other fed missions 2018 (2022?) Targets: NAD 83 and NAVD 88 re-defined Cm-accuracy access to all coordinates Customer-focused agency Global scientific leadership There will be a New Geometric Datum (NGD) to support improved GNSS positioning a new geometric datum. The NGS 10-Year plan states "NGS [will redefine] the national horizontal datum to remove gross disagreements with the ITRF"
33 What is ITRF? The realization of the ITRS, the rotating system fixed to the Earth's surface with the x- axis and the y-axis rotating with the Earth around the z-axis, is the International Terrestrial Reference Frame (ITRF).
34 What is ITRF? This realization is accomplished through observation of fiducial control points and the assignment of three-dimensional Cartesian coordinates on these physical points on the surface of the Earth measured using these systems.
37 Doppler Orbitography by Radiopositioning Integrated on Satellite (DORIS)
38 Global Positioning System (GPS)
39 What is ITRF? The coordinates derived from these observations provides the basis for the calculation of the linear velocities of the stations themselves. The weighted combination of the most recent observations from several analysis-center solutions around the globe inform the regular re-estimation and updating of the ITRF (AIAA 2009) (ITRF Working Group 2001). Those updates are labeled with the last two digits from the year's data used in the realization, i.e. ITRFyy.
40 What is ITRF? Including ITRF88, the first realization in 1988, IERS has published 11 new ITRFs. There has been one nearly every year since, with a hiatus in 1995 and between 1997 and The IERS published ITRF89, ITRF90, ITRF91, ITRF92, ITRF93, and ITRF94. The next were ITRF96 and ITRF97. Then the period between realizations increased and ITRF00, ITRF05 and ITRF08 followed. The longer interval may reflect system improvement, i.e. a lessening magnitude of the changes in the updates from previous realizations (Blewitt, et al. 2006).
41 What is ITRF? There is an effort to minimize the frame shift of each new solution of ITRF with respect to the previous realizations. For example, ITRF93 differs from ITRF00 by ~1 mas (about 5 nanoradians, or 3 cm at the surface of the Earth) (AIAA 2009).
42 What is ITRF? The transformation parameters between ITRF2005 and ITRF2000 are quite small. They are dx = 0.1 mm (±0.3mm), dy = -0.8 mm (±0.3mm), dz = mm (±0.3mm), scale = 0.4 x 10-9 (±0.05), rx = mas (±0.012mas), ry = mas (±0.012mas), rz = mas (±0.012mas), (Doyle 2007) (ITRF 2009) (H. Drewes, Reference Systems, Reference Frames, and the Geodetic Datum-Basic Considerations 2009).
43 The increase in the number of ITRF sites and the collocations has also contributed to the integrity of the system over the years. Collocations are sites where two or more instruments are in close proximity. The evenness of their distribution around the globe has also improved. (Argus and Gordon 1991). The ITRF88 network was derived from observations at about 100 sites and 22 collocations. The observations for the ITRF00 realization were performed at about 800 stations at 500 sites and 101 collocations. (McCarthy and Petit 2003). The scale of ITFR00 was mostly established by a combination of Very Long Baseline Interferometry (VLBI) and Satellite Laser Ranging (SLR) results.
44 What is the difference between NAD83 and ITRF?
45 Tectonic Plate Boundaries Horizontal position differences (in meters) between NAD 83 and ITRF 08 at time (January 1, 2022). Positional differences are shown for the North American and Pacific tectonic plates.
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