Daniel Jaksa

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Providing a Modern Australian Datum for Greater Productivity

Daniel Jaksa, Chairman ICSM GDA Modernisation Implementation Working Group, ICSM/Geoscience Australia


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5 Things You Will Learn

  1. Why there is an economic need to modernise Australia’s spatial reference system.
  2. What has been done so far to update the Geocentric Datum of Australia (GDA).
  3. What governance arrangements have been put in place for datum modernisation?
  4. What plans are being made to implement GDA?
  5. What is happening internationally to support this work?

Target Audience

All spatial practitioners and users of spatial information.

Presentation Overview

Once again a change in measurement technology is rapidly approaching that will profoundly alter the methods used by many spatial practitioners to set-out, locate, map or position features in our built and natural environments. Much like the way the introduction of electronic distance measurement vastly increased the efficiency of surveyors and mappers in the past, new and emerging techniques that exploit the capabilities of the expanding National Positioning Infrastructure will further provide a basis for growing the productivity of surveyors and spatial scientists and potentially broaden their reach into new markets. These productivity gains will come, not only from the speedy capture and delivery of large amounts of spatially referenced information, but also with greater relative precision and absolute accuracy. Centimeter level accuracies that are currently only supplied from surveying professionals have the potential to become more widespread. Commonplace systems that are available at low cost, on familiar platforms such as smartphones, will make accurate location more accessible to the general population. The ability to deliver decimeter to centimeter accuracies in real-time, both outside and within buildings from these new systems will likely be upon us within the next decade.

This ongoing progress of evermore accessible spatial technologies, combined with their ability to quickly generate large amounts of spatially accurate data, has highlighted deficiencies in our existing national datum, the Geocentric Datum of Australia. In order for a spatially empowered Australian community to have access to the absolute accuracies required for their needs now and into the future, these economic and technological forces have created an unavoidable need
for datum modernisation.


Dan Jaksa worked as a graduate surveyor at the South Australian Lands Department in 1988. Seconded to the SA Department of Marine and Harbours, he worked as a Hydrographic Surveyor at Port Adelaide. Following work in engineering and cadastral surveying, he gained his License to perform cadastral surveys in 1990. Dan then moved into an academic stint where he completed a Masters Degree, studying height determination with GPS, and lecturing at the University of SA. Joining Geoscience Australia in 1994, he helped set up a national differential GPS system. Later, Dan worked as the Product Manager for satellite remote sensing. He then moved to gain policy experience with the Department of Industry, Science & Resources preparing an Action Agenda for the Spatial Information Industry and completed a Master in Management (Industry Policy) from ANU.

Dan returned to GA in 2001 to lead Product Development for mapping and remote sensing. In 2005, Dan was asked to join a small team to implement a tsunami warning system for Australia, where he led the operations as Co-Director of the Joint Australian Tsunami Warning Centre from 2009 to 2015.

Dan is currently working to help implement the next generation geodetic datum for Australia.