Australia Will Have New GPS Position, Moved 1.5 Meters North Since 1994

First Posted: Aug 02, 2016 06:26 AM EDT

Australia's entire continent is believed to have moved 1.5 meters to the north over the past 22 years due to tectonic shifts, which puts the continent out of sync with global positioning system (GPS). The Australian government announced that they will be updating the country's latitude and longitude to reflects its new position in the GPS.

Dan Jaksa from Geoscience Australia said that in a not too distant future, it is possible to have driverless cars or autonomous vehicles so the information needs to be as accurate as the actual information collected. To fix this problem, the Geocentric Datum of Australia (GDA) will officially update the Australia's coordinates in 2017 based on predictions of where the country will be in 2020, which is almost 2 meters further north than where the GDA says where it is now.

That would mean that the new coordinates may be slightly out of sync while Australia catches up with the updated longitude and latitude, but would be more accurate than they are now. The GDA is also looking on to how they can keep the numbers more up to date in the future. Jaksa said that the lines are fixed to the continent but as time goes by, its position compared to a GPS position can create a difference, so it needs to be changed every so often, Sputnik News reported.

The Australian plate is moving northwards and slightly to the east by about 7 centimetres per year, DNA India reported. The movement could build up tension which may eventually release in the form of an earthquake.

Australia's coordinates were last updated by the GDA in 1994. A 1.5-meter move from then may be a small discrepancy and not a huge issue for those who just want to utilize Google Maps to figure out the fastest route within 5 to 10 meters away. However, as technology improves and people start to rely on GPS to do things like navigate self driving vehicles, measurements need to be a whole lot more accurate.

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