This week the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration held a Federal Geospatial Summit in Maryland to discuss the proposed improvements to the National Spatial Reference System (NSRS). The meeting discussed how the replacement of the North American Datum of 1983 (NAD83) and the North American Vertical Datum of 1988 (NAVD88) will positively impact measurement and operations.
The agency recently received the findings of an independent study that shows the benefits to the U.S. economy for better positioning (Click here for a one page overview of the study, and lick here for a copy of the full report). The study found that the NSRS provides a benefit of more than $2.4 billion annually to the U.S. economy, and that an additional $522 million in economic benefits could be realized by improving the precision of elevation measurements, with an estimated $240 million saved by improved floodplain management.
The existing vertical datum means elevation errors from 16 inches to 6 feet at sea level. The improved Gravity for the Redefinition of the American Vertical Datum (GRAV-D) reference system would improve that error to under an inch.