NOAA Updates Its GPS System

WASHINGTON, May 19 (UPI) — The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says it is modernizing its Global Positioning System to utilize advances in technology.

Scientists at NOAA’s National Geodetic Survey — the official U.S. government source for determining precise latitude, longitude and elevation — said the effort is important for activities requiring accurate positioning information — including levee construction projects, the design of evacuation routes in hurricane-prone areas and the forecast of sea level rise in coastal communities.


NOAA said the proposed changes will affect civilian-federal mapping authorities, as well as state and municipal governments that have adopted the National Spatial Reference System.

“The reference frame in the past was hampered by being held static in time on an Earth that is constantly changing,” Juliana Blackwell, director of NOAA’s National Geodetic Survey, said. “The new methodologies better capture changes, such as subsidence or sea level rise, and the improved points of reference benefit everyone using positioning data for the foundation of their work.”

Officials said the estimated value of the modernization efforts is $4.8 billion during the next 15 years, including $2.2 billion in avoidance costs from improved floodplain management.

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