datums

DM-52 - Horizontal (Geometric) Datums

A horizontal (geometric) datum provides accurate coordinates (e.g., latitude and longitude) for points on Earth’s surface. Historically, surveyors developed a datum using optically sighted instruments to manually place intervisible survey marks in the ground. This survey work incorporated geometric principles of baselines, distances, and azimuths through the process of triangulation to attach a coordinate value to each survey mark. Triangulation produced a geodetic network of interconnected survey marks that realized the datum (i.e., connecting the geometry of the network to Earth’s physical surface). For local surveys, these datums provided reasonable positional accuracies on the order of meters. Importantly, once placed in the ground, these survey marks were passive; a new survey was needed to determine any positional changes (e.g., due to plate motion) and to update the attached coordinate values. Starting in the 1950s, due to the implementation of active control, space-based satellite geodesy changed how geodetic networks were realized. Here, "active" implies that a survey mark’s coordinates are updated in near real-time through, for example, artificial satellites such as GNSS. Increasingly, GNSS and satellite geodesy is paving the way for a modernized geometric datum that is global in scope and capable of providing positional accuracies at the millimeter level.

DM-52 - Horizontal datums
  • Discuss appropriate applications of the various datum transformation options
  • Explain the difference between NAD 27 and NAD 83 in terms of ellipsoid parameters
  • Outline the historical development of horizontal datums
  • Explain the difference in coordinate specifications for the same position when referenced to NAD 27 and NAD 83
  • Explain the rationale for updating NAD 27 to NAD 83
  • Explain why all GPS data are originally referenced to the WGS 84 datum
  • Identify which datum transformation options are available and unavailable in a GIS software package
  • Define “horizontal datum” in terms of the relationship between a coordinate system and an approximation of the Earth’s surface
  • Describe the limitations of a Molodenski transformation and in what circumstances a higher parameter transformation such as Helmert may be appropriate
  • Determine the impact of a datum transformation from NAD 27 to NAD 83 for a given location using a conversion routine maintained by the U.S. National Geodetic Survey
  • Explain the methodology employed by the U.S. National Geodetic Survey to transform control points from NAD 27 to NAD 83
  • Perform a Molodenski transformation manually
  • Use GIS software to perform a datum transformation
DM-51 - Vertical datums
  • Explain how a vertical datum is established
  • Differentiate between NAVD 29 and NAVD 88
  • Illustrate the difference between a vertical datum and a geoid
  • Illustrate the relationship among the concepts ellipsoidal (or geodetic) height, geoidal height, and orthometric elevation
  • Outline the historical development of vertical datums
DM-51 - Vertical datums
  • Explain how a vertical datum is established
  • Differentiate between NAVD 29 and NAVD 88
  • Illustrate the difference between a vertical datum and a geoid
  • Illustrate the relationship among the concepts ellipsoidal (or geodetic) height, geoidal height, and orthometric elevation
  • Outline the historical development of vertical datums
DM-52 - Horizontal datums
  • Discuss appropriate applications of the various datum transformation options
  • Explain the difference between NAD 27 and NAD 83 in terms of ellipsoid parameters
  • Outline the historical development of horizontal datums
  • Explain the difference in coordinate specifications for the same position when referenced to NAD 27 and NAD 83
  • Explain the rationale for updating NAD 27 to NAD 83
  • Explain why all GPS data are originally referenced to the WGS 84 datum
  • Identify which datum transformation options are available and unavailable in a GIS software package
  • Define “horizontal datum” in terms of the relationship between a coordinate system and an approximation of the Earth’s surface
  • Describe the limitations of a Molodenski transformation and in what circumstances a higher parameter transformation such as Helmert may be appropriate
  • Determine the impact of a datum transformation from NAD 27 to NAD 83 for a given location using a conversion routine maintained by the U.S. National Geodetic Survey
  • Explain the methodology employed by the U.S. National Geodetic Survey to transform control points from NAD 27 to NAD 83
  • Perform a Molodenski transformation manually
  • Use GIS software to perform a datum transformation
DM-51 - Vertical datums
  • Explain how a vertical datum is established
  • Differentiate between NAVD 29 and NAVD 88
  • Illustrate the difference between a vertical datum and a geoid
  • Illustrate the relationship among the concepts ellipsoidal (or geodetic) height, geoidal height, and orthometric elevation
  • Outline the historical development of vertical datums
DM-52 - Horizontal datums
  • Discuss appropriate applications of the various datum transformation options
  • Explain the difference between NAD 27 and NAD 83 in terms of ellipsoid parameters
  • Outline the historical development of horizontal datums
  • Explain the difference in coordinate specifications for the same position when referenced to NAD 27 and NAD 83
  • Explain the rationale for updating NAD 27 to NAD 83
  • Explain why all GPS data are originally referenced to the WGS 84 datum
  • Identify which datum transformation options are available and unavailable in a GIS software package
  • Define “horizontal datum” in terms of the relationship between a coordinate system and an approximation of the Earth’s surface
  • Describe the limitations of a Molodenski transformation and in what circumstances a higher parameter transformation such as Helmert may be appropriate
  • Determine the impact of a datum transformation from NAD 27 to NAD 83 for a given location using a conversion routine maintained by the U.S. National Geodetic Survey
  • Explain the methodology employed by the U.S. National Geodetic Survey to transform control points from NAD 27 to NAD 83
  • Perform a Molodenski transformation manually
  • Use GIS software to perform a datum transformation
DM-52 - Horizontal datums
  • Discuss appropriate applications of the various datum transformation options
  • Explain the difference between NAD 27 and NAD 83 in terms of ellipsoid parameters
  • Outline the historical development of horizontal datums
  • Explain the difference in coordinate specifications for the same position when referenced to NAD 27 and NAD 83
  • Explain the rationale for updating NAD 27 to NAD 83
  • Explain why all GPS data are originally referenced to the WGS 84 datum
  • Identify which datum transformation options are available and unavailable in a GIS software package
  • Define “horizontal datum” in terms of the relationship between a coordinate system and an approximation of the Earth’s surface
  • Describe the limitations of a Molodenski transformation and in what circumstances a higher parameter transformation such as Helmert may be appropriate
  • Determine the impact of a datum transformation from NAD 27 to NAD 83 for a given location using a conversion routine maintained by the U.S. National Geodetic Survey
  • Explain the methodology employed by the U.S. National Geodetic Survey to transform control points from NAD 27 to NAD 83
  • Perform a Molodenski transformation manually
  • Use GIS software to perform a datum transformation
DM-51 - Vertical datums
  • Explain how a vertical datum is established
  • Differentiate between NAVD 29 and NAVD 88
  • Illustrate the difference between a vertical datum and a geoid
  • Illustrate the relationship among the concepts ellipsoidal (or geodetic) height, geoidal height, and orthometric elevation
  • Outline the historical development of vertical datums
DM-51 - Vertical datums
  • Explain how a vertical datum is established
  • Differentiate between NAVD 29 and NAVD 88
  • Illustrate the difference between a vertical datum and a geoid
  • Illustrate the relationship among the concepts ellipsoidal (or geodetic) height, geoidal height, and orthometric elevation
  • Outline the historical development of vertical datums

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