SGDE Colloquium: Michael Dennis

Brave New Coordinates After 2022: A Spatial Odyssey with the National Geodetic Survey

Michael Dennis
NOAA's National Geodetic Survey

Abstract: Sometimes important things are hidden.  Consider geodesy.  It is a scientific field known by few, and yet without it there would be no mapping, surveying, navigation, geography, GPS, or GIS.  The National Spatial Reference System (NSRS) is the geodetic foundation for all civilian positioning in the United States, and the National Geodetic Survey (NGS) defines, maintains, and provides access to the NSRS.  But the NSRS is not static.  It must evolve as positioning technology continually improves, and major changes are nearly upon us: in 2022 or shortly after, NGS will complete a modernization of the NSRS.  This presentation gives an overview of the coming changes, including replacement of the current U.S. horizontal and vertical datums with terrestrial reference frames and a gravity-based geopotential datum.  Existing State Plane Coordinates will also be superseded by the State Plane Coordinate System of 2022 (SPCS2022).  The main focus of the presentation is on two key innovations.  One is creating a system that rigorously accounts for the fact that coordinates change with time.  The other is designing SPCS2022 map projections that more accurately represent distances on the surface of the Earth.  The overarching goal is to leverage the hidden power of geodesy to build an NSRS for the future that meets the dynamic and diverse positioning needs of the U.S. geospatial community.

Biography:  SGDE is very excited to welcome Dr. Michael Dennis from NOAA’s National Geodetic Survey (NGS) as our colloquium speaker this week.  Dr. Dennis is a geodesist, professional engineer, and surveyor with prior private sector experience and currently manages NOAA's State Plane Coordinate System of 2022 (SPCS) Project ( at NGS.  Dr. Dennis' talk will guide us through the upcoming changes and innovations in the National Spatial Reference System, with wide ranging implications for spatial data, mapping, and GIS throughout the United States. 

Friday, March 5th, 2021 at 3:30pm
For Zoom link, email Amanda Percy


3:30 p.m. March 5, 2021

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