University of Wisconsin–Madison

Wisconsin Geospatial News

New coordinate systems education strategy planned

As we reported in the last issue of the Bulletin, the Wisconsin Land Information Association (WLIA) Coordinate Systems Task Force has completed a fundamental redesign of the existing Wisconsin County Coordinate System (WCCS). As was noted in that article, the new system has a new name – Wisconsin Coordinate Reference Systems (WISCRS), pronounced “whiskers.”

With the redesign now complete, many people have asked our office when WISCRS is available for use, how to use the new system, and the affects on existing data and projects. Within the next month, the WLIA Task Force will be making plans to answer these questions using several approaches.

From a use standpoint, the newly revised system is ready now. The new WISCRS design parameters are available in the March 2006 Final Report which documents the redesign project. The report can be downloaded as a PDF from the SCO website. 

From an educational and documentation standpoint, the most significant effort will be the revision and publication of a new Wisconsin Coordinate Systems Handbook. Over the next three months, the State cartographer’s Office will revise and expand the original 1995 handbook to include the new WISCRS design parameters for each county, and an explanation and diagrams showing county-by-county how WISCRS coordinate values differ from the original WCCS values.   Also, the handbook will include revised materials covering the basics of coordinate systems, map projections, reference datums, terminology, and new to this edition, an explanation of vertical reference systems. The revised handbook will be available as a hardcopy publication for a small fee, and also available from the SCO’s website as a PDF document.

The Task Force is also developing a strategy to offer several workshops spread out over the next six months or so. These will be offered along with some of the regularly scheduled association meetings across the state, and possibly as stand-alone events. In addition, the Wisconsin Society of Land Surveyors will be sponsoring a full-day coordinate systems workshop on Friday, October 13 at the Kalahari Resort in Wisconsin Dells.

More information will be available after the next Task Force meeting in August.