DMIRS transitioning to a new geodetic datum

Aiming for full compliance on 1 October
Date: Thursday, 21 May 2020

The Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety (DMIRS) has changed its full compliance date for the implementation of the Geocentric Datum of Australia 2020 (GDA2020) from 1 July to 1 October.

The national implementation of GDA2020 is necessary to account for Australia’s tectonic movement of about seven centimetres north east each year.

Since the year 2000, Australia has moved approximately 1.8 metres towards Indonesia, requiring the coordinate reference system to be changed.

GDA2020 will supersede the current GDA94 datum, and older coordinate systems such as the Australian Geodetic Datum 1966 and 1984.

The Intergovernmental Committee on Surveying and Mapping (ICSM) is responsible for coordinating the GDA2020 datum shift nationally.

DMIRS has been working closely with Landgate, the lead agency for GDA2020 implementation in Western Australia, to deliver systems changes and the appropriate policy and regulatory changes.

Resource Tenure Executive Director Rick Rogerson said a DMIRS working group had been established to implement the upgrade but the transition is complex as it involves regulatory changes to accommodate all three previous datums.

“The original target date was 1 July but DMIRS is now aiming for 1 October as a full implementation date in response to technical, policy and regulatory issues in addition to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic,” he said.

“The DMIRS Datacentre is being updated to accommodate the download of datasets in both GDA2020 and the current GDA94 datum from 1 July, while work continues on required policy and regulatory changes as well as system conversions.”

DMIRS is updating regulations and policies that specify a defined datum to reflect the adoption of GDA2020 and changing systems. For a transition period, downloadable spatial data will be available in both GDA2020 and GDA94.

“GDA2020, like GDA94, is a ‘static’ datum, which means that coordinates of features such as roads, buildings and land parcels do not change with time during the period the particular datum applies, despite the ongoing movement of the earth’s surface due to tectonic movement,” Mr Rogerson said.

“The upgrade will ensure spatial data can be more closely aligned to positions observed using Global Navigation Satellite Systems.

“All mining tenements will retain their relationships with all other mining tenure, no ground will be gained or lost.”

DMIRS will continue to keep stakeholders informed as the project progresses. More information about GDA2020 is available at For further general information on datums and the update, visit