Coordinate Reference Systems and Positioning
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This book is intended to develop content for a new chapter on Coordinate Reference Systems and GNSS Surveying for the Spatial Data Infrastructure Cookbook developed through the Global Spatial Data Infrastructure (GSDI) initiative. The purpose of the chapter is to provide high level information for a basic understanding of global coordinate reference systems (e.g., WGS 84, ITRFxx/GRS80) and case studies from different regions and countries of the world about the challenges of tying their datums to global coordinate reference systems. As the final product will be incorporated in a Portable Document Format (PDF) document, it is important that sufficient information be extracted from open sources so that the user does not have to jump from article to article to get high level information about Global Coordinate Reference Systems and Positioning. Content will be condensed into a chapter covering 15-20 pages.
The Wikibooks approach is being used to foster international collaboration and to quickly develop content. Anyone can contribute and change existing content, and one does not need to register. If, however, you want attribution for your contribution, you are encouraged to register. If you decide to contribute, it is recommended that you familiarize yourself with Wiki markup. The Wikibooks approach is not for people who do not want their masterpiece altered!
As of 2005-01-26, our wish list for contributions is as follows:
- Extraction of information from open sources for inclusion in this chapter
- Graphics and figures
- Case studies from various regions and countries of the world for tying into global coordinate reference systems such as WGS 84 and ITRFxx/GRS80
- Anything marked as TBSL (To Be Supplied Later)
Context and rationale 
Consistent with the SDI Cookbook, this section establishes the background, context, and rationale for the subject suitable as general orientation for all readers, but targeted for managers and end-users.
Geodetic datum 
In geodesy, a reference ellipsoid is a mathematically defined surface that approximates the true figure of the Earth or geoid. It is used as the surface on which geodetic network computations are performed and [geographic] point co-ordinates calculated.
Mathematically, the reference ellipsoid is an oblate (flattened) ellipsoid of revolution with two different axes, an equatorial semi-major axis and a polar semi-minor axis . The ellipsoid of revolution is obtained by rotating the ellipse about the semi-minor axis (refer to Reference ellipsoid)
The flattening is defined as
- from Reference ellipsoid
GRS80 was adopted by the International Union of Geodesy and Geophysics (IUGG) at its XVII General Assembly in Canberra, Australia, December 1979.
For GRS80, = 6 378 137 m and = 0.003 352 810 681 18
A geoid is a close representation of the shape of the Earth. According to C.F. Gauss, it is the "mathematical figure of the Earth", in fact, of the Earth's gravity field. The geoid is that equipotential surface which coincides on average with mean sea level. - adapted from Geoid
The geoid has an irregular surface and unlike the ellipsoid, cannot be expressed by a mathematical formula.
An ellipsoidal height uses the reference ellipsoid as its reference surface. A geodetic height uses the geoid as its reference surface.
Coordinate systems 
Cartesian coordinate systems 
Geographic coordinate systems 
Grid/Image coordinate systems 
Global Coordinate Reference Systems 
Geocentric XYZ (TBSL) 
International Terrestrial Reference System(ITRS) 
International Terrestrial Reference Frame(ITRF) 
The International Terrestrial Reference Frame - The International Terrestrial Reference Frame (ITRF) is a set of points with their 3-dimensional Cartesian coordinates which realize an ideal reference system, the International Terrestrial Reference System (ITRS)
Epoch (TBSL) 
World Geodetic System of 1984 (WGS 84) 
Plate tectonics and positioning 
How positions are determined 
GNSS determine positions on the earth through trilateration.
Ellipsoidal and geodetic heights 
Satellite constellations 
Organizational issues 
Consistent with the SDI Cookbook, this section addresses the design architecture of organisations, roles, and software systems that are intended to interact.
This section will provide case studies on how various regions and countries of the world are tying into Global Spatial Reference Systems.
Regional reference frames 
Europe (TBSL) 
South and Central America (TBSL) 
North America (TBSL) 
Africa (TBSL) 
Asia-Pacific (TBSL) 
Antartica (TBSL) 
National datums 
Geocentric Datum of Australia
Reference Frame: ITRF92(International Terrestrial Reference Frame 1992), Epoch 1994.0, Ellipsoid: GRS80
New Zealand 
New Zealand Geodetic Datum 2000 (NZGD2000)
Reference Frame: ITRF96 (International Terrestrial Reference Frame 1996), Epoch 2000.0, Ellipsoid: GRS80
New Zealand lies along the boundary of the Australian Plate and Pacific Plate and therefore, is a geophysically active area. The effects of slow crustal deformation (plate tectonics) amount to about 5cm per year. These changes will be managed through the use of a velocity model to generate NZGD2000 coordinates from observations made at times other than the datum reference epoch. This will allow specialised users to generate coordinates for times other than the reference epoch.
United Kingdom 
OSGB36 (Ordnance Survey Great Britain 1936)
Reference Frame: OSGB36, Ellipsoid: Airy 1830
Other countries (TBSL) 
Implementation issues (TBSL) 
Standards and specifications 
ISO 19111:2003, Geographic information - Spatial Referencing by Coordinates - scope only; ISO standard carries a copyright
ISO 19127, Geographic information - Geodetic Codes and Parameters - scope only; ISO standard carries a copyright
OpenGIS Implementation Specification: Coordinate Transformation Services, Revision 1.00
OGC Abstract Specification: Topic 2 - Spatial Referencing by Coordinates
OGC Web Coordinate Transformation Service (WCTS)
Recommended XML/GML 3.1.1 encoding of common CRS definitions (XML for CRS)
Recommended XML/GML 3.1.1 encoding of image CRS definitions (ImageCRS)