Australian Height Datum

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The Australian Height Datum is a geodetic datum for altitude measurement in Australia. According to Geoscience Australia, "In 1971 the mean sea level for 1966-1968 was assigned the value of 0.000m on the Australian Height Datum at thirty tide gauges around the coast of the Australian continent. The resulting datum surface, with minor modifications in two metropolitan areas, has been termed the Australian Height Datum (AHD) and was adopted by the National Mapping Council as the datum to which all vertical control for mapping (and other surveying functions) is to be referred." [1] [2] [3]

Geodetic datum reference frame used in geodesy, surveying, chartography and navigation

A geodetic datum or geodetic system is a coordinate system, and a set of reference points, used to locate places on the Earth. An approximate definition of sea level is the datum WGS 84, an ellipsoid, whereas a more accurate definition is Earth Gravitational Model 2008 (EGM2008), using at least 2,159 spherical harmonics. Other datums are defined for other areas or at other times; ED50 was defined in 1950 over Europe and differs from WGS 84 by a few hundred meters depending on where in Europe you look. Mars has no oceans and so no sea level, but at least two martian datums have been used to locate places there.

Altitude or height is defined based on the context in which it is used. As a general definition, altitude is a distance measurement, usually in the vertical or "up" direction, between a reference datum and a point or object. The reference datum also often varies according to the context. Although the term altitude is commonly used to mean the height above sea level of a location, in geography the term elevation is often preferred for this usage.

Australia Country in Oceania

Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a sovereign country comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania and numerous smaller islands. It is the largest country in Oceania and the world's sixth-largest country by total area. The neighbouring countries are Papua New Guinea, Indonesia and East Timor to the north; the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu to the north-east; and New Zealand to the south-east. The population of 25 million is highly urbanised and heavily concentrated on the eastern seaboard. Australia's capital is Canberra, and its largest city is Sydney. The country's other major metropolitan areas are Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide.

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Geodesy The science of the geometric shape, orientation in space, and gravitational field of the Earth

Geodesy, is the earth science of accurately measuring and understanding the Earth's geometric shape, orientation in space, and gravitational field. The field also incorporates studies of how these properties change over time and equivalent measurements for other planets. Geodynamical phenomena include crustal motion, tides, and polar motion, which can be studied by designing global and national control networks, applying space and terrestrial techniques, and relying on datums and coordinate systems.

Geographic coordinate system Coordinate system

A geographic coordinate system is a coordinate system that enables every location on Earth to be specified by a set of numbers, letters or symbols. The coordinates are often chosen such that one of the numbers represents a vertical position and two or three of the numbers represent a horizontal position; alternatively, a geographic position may be expressed in a combined three-dimensional Cartesian vector. A common choice of coordinates is latitude, longitude and elevation. To specify a location on a plane requires a map projection.

Sea level Average level for the surface of the ocean at any given geographical position on the planetary surface

Mean sea level (MSL) is an average level of the surface of one or more of Earth's oceans from which heights such as elevation may be measured. MSL is a type of vertical datum – a standardised geodetic datum – that is used, for example, as a chart datum in cartography and marine navigation, or, in aviation, as the standard sea level at which atmospheric pressure is measured to calibrate altitude and, consequently, aircraft flight levels. A common and relatively straightforward mean sea-level standard is the midpoint between a mean low and mean high tide at a particular location.

World Geodetic System geodetic reference system

The World Geodetic System (WGS) is a standard for use in cartography, geodesy, and satellite navigation including GPS. It comprises a standard coordinate system for the Earth, a standard spheroidal reference surface for raw altitude data, and a gravitational equipotential surface that defines the nominal sea level.

Ordnance Survey National Grid System of geographic grid references used in Great Britain

The Ordnance Survey National Grid reference system is a system of geographic grid references used in Great Britain, distinct from latitude and longitude. It is often called British National Grid (BNG).

Elevation Height of a geographic location above a fixed reference point

The elevation of a geographic location is its height above or below a fixed reference point, most commonly a reference geoid, a mathematical model of the Earth's sea level as an equipotential gravitational surface . The term elevation is mainly used when referring to points on the Earth's surface, while altitude or geopotential height is used for points above the surface, such as an aircraft in flight or a spacecraft in orbit, and depth is used for points below the surface.

Benchmark (surveying) point with known height used in surveying when levelling

The term benchmark, or bench mark, originates from the chiseled horizontal marks that surveyors made in stone structures, into which an angle-iron could be placed to form a "bench" for a leveling rod, thus ensuring that a leveling rod could be accurately repositioned in the same place in the future. These marks were usually indicated with a chiseled arrow below the horizontal line.

Chart datum The level of water from which depths displayed on a nautical chart are measured

A chart datum is the water level that depths displayed on a nautical chart are measured from. A chart datum is generally derived from some phase of the tide. Common chart datums are lowest astronomical tide and mean lower low water. In non-tidal areas, e.g., the Baltic Sea, Mean Sea Level (MSL) is used.

Ordnance datum

In the British Isles, an ordnance datum or OD is a vertical datum used by an ordnance survey as the basis for deriving altitudes on maps. A spot height may be expressed as AOD for "above ordnance datum". Usually mean sea level (MSL) is used for the datum. In particular:

Geoscience Australia agency of the Australian Government

Geoscience Australia is an agency of the Australian Government. It carries out geoscientific research. The agency is the government's technical adviser on all aspects of geoscience, and custodian of the geographic and geological data and knowledge of the nation.

Sea Level Datum of 1929 vertical datum in the United States

The Sea Level Datum of 1929 was the vertical datum established for vertical control surveying in the United States of America by the General Adjustment of 1929. The datum was used to measure elevation (altitude) above, and depression (depth) below, mean sea level (MSL).

North American Vertical Datum of 1988

The North American Vertical Datum of 1988 is the vertical datum for orthometric heights established for vertical control surveying in the United States of America based upon the General Adjustment of the North American Datum of 1988.

Vertical datum

A vertical datum or height datum is a reference surface for vertical positions, such as the elevations of Earth features including terrain, bathymetry, water level, and man-made structures. Vertical datums are either: tidal, based on sea levels; gravimetric, based on a geoid; or geodetic, based on the same ellipsoid models of the Earth used for computing horizontal datums.

<i>Normalhöhennull</i> standard reference level, the equivalent of sea level, used in Germany to measure height

Normalhöhennull or NHN is a vertical datum used in Germany.

Metres above the Adriatic elevation measure

Metres above the Adriatic is the vertical datum used in Austria, in the former Yugoslavian states of Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia-Hercegovina, Serbia, Montenegro, Macedonia, Kosovo, as well as in Albania to measure elevation, referring to the average water level of the Adriatic Sea at the Sartorio mole in the Port of Trieste.

Geospatial Information Authority of Japan

The Geospatial Information Authority of Japan, or GSI, is the national institution responsible for surveying and mapping the national land of Japan. The former name of the organization from 1949 until March 2010 was Geographical Survey Institute. It is an organization attached to the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism. Its main offices are situated in Tsukuba City of Ibaraki Prefecture.

Centre points of Australia

Centre points of Australia are those geographical locations that have been considered to be centre of Australia, as distinct from the extreme points of Australia.

This is a glossary of levelling terms. Levelling is a surveying method used to find relative height, one use of which is to ensure ground is level during construction, for example, when excavating to prepare for laying a foundation for a house.

Surveying in Australia

Surveying in Australia is triangulation-based and shares many similarities with the United Kingdom, including the title deed system. However, a distinctive feature of surveying in Australia is the Torrens System, where real estate records are held in a central deposit and guaranteed by the state.


  1. Australian Height Datum Geoscience Australia
  2. BoM glossary
  3. Roelse, A.; Granger, H. W.; Graham, J. W. (1975), The adjustment of the Australian levelling survey 1970-1971 (PDF) (2nd ed.), Dept. of National Development, Australia, retrieved 15 April 2017