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Kinsman, N., & Youngman, M. (2018). REPLACING NAVD88: THE EFFECTS OF VERTICAL DATUM MODERNIZATION ON COASTAL ENGINEERING. Coastal Engineering Proceedings, 1(36), risk.58.


The United States (US) National Geodetic Survey (NGS) will be replacing the North American Vertical Datum of 1988 (NAVD88) with the North American-Pacific Geopotential Datum of 2022 (NAPGD2022). NAVD88 is still the official vertical datum of the NSRS at this time, but it is in need of improvement; it is both biased (by about one-half meter) and tilted (about 1 meter coast to coast) relative to the best global geoid models available today. This issue stems from the fact that NAVD88 was defined primarily using terrestrial surveying techniques at passive geodetic survey marks. For access, users must often collect hours of Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) data, or rely on our nation's network of passive survey marks, which is not fully stable (consider areas of subsidence such as the Mississippi River delta) and is deteriorating over time. Maintenance of these marks requires significant resources and vertical motion of marks is not tracked in a systematic way. A modernized vertical reference frame will primarily rely on GNSS such as the Global Positioning System (GPS) in combination with an updated and time-tracked geoid model. This paradigm shift will result in improvements to the National Spatial Reference System (NSRS) that will provide users with enhanced access, easier maintenance, and more consistent coordinates for precise positioning activities nationwide.


National Geodetic Survey (2017): Blueprint for 2022, Part 2: Geopotential Coordinates, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association Technical Report NOS NGS 64, 41 p.

Youngman, Monica; Dru Smith; Scott Lokken; and Tom Langan (2011): The Effect of Modernizing the National Datums on Floodplain Mapping, 41 p.

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