Tuesday Term of the Week | WGS84

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WGS84, or the “World Geodetic System 1984” is a specific datum that was first modeled in 1984 and has been subsequently refined, most recently updated in 2004.  It was produced using highly-accurate readings from space, made using satellites equipped with advanced laser, radar and other complex measuring equipment.  This is the datum most frequently used today for general cartography and navigation, including position location by GPS (Global Positioning Systems) technology.  Most of us have GPS chips embedded in our cars and smartphones.  WGS84 is accurate to around one meter in most places on the earth, which is quite remarkable.  There are actually many hundreds of datums in existence.  When extremely high accuracy is required, a local datum can be constructed covering a smaller area more precisely than WGS84 is able to do.  For most general mapping though, WGS84 works extremely well.