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Reference systems

March 19 2020

There are thousands of reference systems in the world. For exemple, the popular WGS84, used for the Global Positioning System (GPS), various smartphone apps and car navigation systems. Others are created for specific countries and regions. Some of them are recent and widely used, others are a heritage from the past and are needed only when reading old maps and documents. For high-accuracy surveys with professional-grade GNSS receivers, it is common to use reference systems that are better adapted for a specific region than the universal WGS84.

Most mobile applications use only WGS84 and require additional transformations to export the coordinates in a different format. Making these transformations with another software inevitably takes time, increases the cost and induces errors. Moreover, transforming the coordinates is not always a straightforward process – different tools can yield different results, depending on the factors they take into account when calculating the coordinates. For example, the coordinates from free tools like QGIS can be noticeable different than the coordinates obtained with software like ArcGIS. In the first case, the transformations are based on the basic EPSG definition that doesn’t include translation and rotation parameters for the datum. In the second case, the transformation could be accurate but you must be willing to invest and pay a hefty price for the software and make your way through the complicated interface.

We have designed OnPOZ to be reliable, easy to use and cost-efficient. Reference systems support makes no exception. We offer our customers the possibility to switch from one reference system to another by simply choosing it from a list. You can find the reference system you need by name, by EPSG code and even by clicking on the map. All coordinate transformations are handled internally and the results are extremely accurate. Our reference system definitions are based on the widely accepted EPSG code with the added benefit of accurately defined datum parameters. And if that is not enough, you can import your custom coordinate system from a .prj file and stay compatible with any coordinates the life throws at you :)

There are a number of cases that require a specific coordinate system, different than the usual WGS84. Sometimes, it is simply to comply with the standards of a specific project. In other cases, it is a question of compatibility between different GIS platforms. More often than not, local RTK providers broadcast the coordinates in a specific reference system in order to achieve high accuracy. In all cases, OnPOZ offers extensive reference systems support and complies with the highest industry standards.