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Australia Moves to Update Location; Shifted 1.5 Meters in Just 22 Years

Making sure your GPS doesn't eventually put you in the ocean.

Cecille De JesusJuly 31st 2016

Shifts in tectonic plates cause Australia to move around 7 centimeters every year, to the north and a little to the east. This shift has caused the country, which sits on the fastest moving continental plate on Earth, to accumulate a 1.5-meter misalignment since their geographical records were last updated in 1994.

Geoscientists say that if it goes unchecked, map locations, such as that of the Sydney Opera House, will be off the mark by nearly two meters by 2020.

Because of this, government agency Geoscience Australia is revising its longitude and latitude to match their new location accurately and fix the discrepancy with global satellite navigation systems. The country’s national coordinate system Geocentric Datum of Australia will be adjusted and synchronized with international records.

The correction will help keep location data accurate for satellites, as well as services and new technology that rely on geolocation such as self-driving cars and drones.


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