Proceedings of the 2010 Federal Geospatial Summit on improving the National Spatial Reference System, Silver Spring, Maryland, May 11 - 12, 2010
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Proceedings of the 2010 Federal Geospatial Summit on improving the National Spatial Reference System, Silver Spring, Maryland, May 11 - 12, 2010
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  • Alternative Title:
    Proceedings of the 2010 Federal Geospatial Summit to improve the National Spatial Reference System
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    "For 203 years, the National Geodetic Survey (NGS)--previously the Survey of the Coast, the Coast Survey, and the Coast and Geodetic Survey--has performed the mission of establishing a consistent coordinate frame for the mapping of the Nation. This mission was refined in 2009 to reflect today's terminology: To define, maintain, and provide access to the National Spatial Reference System to meet our Nation's economic, social, and environmental needs While the name of the agency and the terminology of the mission have changed over the span of two centuries, one element of performing the mission has not changed dramatically until the last two decades: the distribution of geodetic control through fixed coordinates on presurveyed passive geodetic control marks. Surveying and measurement tools changed in those centuries, but the use of passive marks has remained the primary method to access consistent coordinates for mapmaking in the United States, in a system known as the National Spatial Reference System (NSRS). Two elements of the NSRS, known historically as the horizontal datum (North American Datum of 1983 [or NAD 83]) for determining latitude and longitude, and the vertical datum (North American Vertical Datum of 1988 [or NAVD 88]) for determining elevation, are still primarily accessed through passive control using traditional survey methods, though space-based positioning such as the Global Positioning System (GPS), has been challenging this methodology since its inception. For a variety of reasons, especially the dynamic movements of the Earth's crust and the existence of GPS, the NSRS contains systematic errors. In 2008, NGS issued a Ten-Year Plan announcing the intent to remove these systematic errors and change the style of performing its mission from one relying on passive marks to one relying on GPS. However, implementation of the Ten-Year Plan requires that NGS work collaboratively with the users of the NSRS, and on May 11 and 12, 2010, NGS hosted a Federal Geospatial Summit on Improving the National Spatial Reference System. Invitations were sent to more than 700 individuals in the Federal, state, tribal, and municipal governments, as well as members of academia and private industry. Over 200 participants attended in person, with another 200 participating via a webcast teleconference. Prior to the Summit, a 12-page white paper entitled 'Improving the National Spatial Reference System' was distributed to registrants and online. It contained detailed information on both the nature and causes of the systematic errors and deficiencies in the current datums of the NSRS. The white paper builds upon the NGS Ten-Year Plan, but with significantly more detail, and with a strong emphasis on definitively answering the question 'Why replace NAD 83 and NAVD 88?' The paper can be found in Appendix A. The first day of the Summit began with presentations by NGS, followed by panel sessions to respond to audience questions. On the second day, users were invited to present their own information and concerns, and a final panel session attempted to address them. The agenda is reproduced in Appendix B"--Introduction.
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