University of Wisconsin–Madison

Wisconsin Geospatial News

NATRF2022 Discovery Team Submits Comments to National Geodetic Survey

As noted in an earlier news article the National Geodetic Survey (NGS) plans to introduce a new terrestrial reference system in 2022 to replace NAD83. The new reference system – North American Terrestrial Reference Frame of 2022, or NATRF2022 – will have significant effects on surveying, mapping and GIS across the state and nation.

On July 19, 2018, the “NATRF Discovery Team” met in Madison to begin the discussion of how to prepare for the new reference system. The Discovery Team represents a broad coalition of geospatial and surveying professionals in Wisconsin, including federal, state, regional and local agencies and associations involved in the production and utilization of spatial data. The individuals who attended the meeting and the groups they represent are as follows:

Chair & Co-Chair
Howard Veregin, Wisconsin State Cartographer
Richard Kleinmann, Wisconsin Society of Land Surveyors (Geospatial Committee Chair)

Members and groups represented
Eric Damkot, Wisconsin Land Information Association
Adam Derringer, Wisconsin Land Information Council
John Ellingson, National Geodetic Survey
Jim Giglierano, Wisconsin Department of Administration
Mick Heberlein, Wisconsin Department of Transportation
Brenda Hemstead, State Cartographer’s Office
Jason Houle, Professional Surveyor
Corey Hughes, Wisconsin County Surveyors Association
John Laedlein, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources
Jerry Mahun, University of Wisconsin-Platteville
Rob Merry, Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission
Emily Pierce, National Society of Professional Surveyors
Glen Schaefer, Wisconsin Department of Transportation (retired)
Al Vonderohe, University of Wisconsin-Madison (emeritus)

Wisconsin Society of Land Surveyors sponsors
Bob Beilfuss, President
Frank Thousand, Executive Director
Terry Van Hout, President-Elect

Response to NGS

The main agenda item addressed at the meeting was how to respond to a Federal Register Notice deadline of August 31, 2018, for public commentary on the policies and procedures to update the State Plane Coordinate System (SPCS).

The Federal Register Notice (83 FR 17149) states:

NOAA’s National Geodetic Survey (NGS) will establish the State Plane Coordinate System of 2022 (SPCS2022) as part of the transition to the 2022 Terrestrial Reference Frames (TRFs). SPCS2022 is the successor to previous versions referenced to the North American Datums of 1983 and 1927….NGS has developed draft policy and procedures that propose defining characteristics and requirements for SPCS2022. These documents also provide mechanisms for user input on initial design of SPCS2022 and subsequent changes. The aim is for SPCS2022 to meet the needs of NGS customers for the future NSRS. To achieve that goal, NGS is inviting written comments on the draft SPCS2022 policy.

The Discovery Team’s response to the NGS asserts that the Wisconsin Coordinate Reference Systems (WISCRS) should be included as a level in a tiered state plane system, and that NGS should incorporate WISCRS coordinates into their software, databases, and data products — just as commercial vendors have included these coordinate systems in commercial software packages.

As stated in the letter:

We are convinced that, with the advent of NATRF2022, the Wisconsin community will be best served by a three-tiered coordinate system structure:

  1. The coordinate system WISCRS;
  2. A three-zone State Plane Coordinate System modeled on the current SPCS zones for the state but with significantly different Eastings to avoid confusion;
  3. A single zone for the entire state, possibly based on WTM (Wisconsin Transverse Mercator, a UTM-like zone centered on the 90 degrees West meridian) but with a significantly different Easting to avoid confusion.

The letter requests that “NGS recognize WISCRS as a component of this three-tiered system, provide WISCRS coordinates on NGS data sheets and within NGS databases, and incorporate WISCRS within NGS coordinate transformation software.”

This request by the Discovery Team reflects the long history of using low-distortion projection (LDP) systems in Wisconsin, the prevalence of WISCRS within the state’s land information communities at the local level and the large investments made in low-distortion WISCRS spatial networks, the extensive use of WISCRS in infrastructure design and construction, and the incorporation of WISCRS into major commercial software tools. These examples show the significant financial interest in maintaining WISCRS and the buy-in it has received from the private sector.

Task Force Creation

A second topic addressed at the Discovery Team meeting in July was the creation of an NATRF2022 Task Force under the Wisconsin Society of Land Surveyors (WSLS) Geospatial Committee. The Discovery Team will serve as the foundation of this Task Force, but additional members may be added to ensure that the needs of the entire community are addressed. The mission of the Task Force will be to address the technical, educational, communication, legislative and software aspects required to respond to the reference system change and to better position the geospatial community to implement the new reference system.

There is currently no specific timeline in place for creating the Task Force. However, some urgency is required due to the need to coordinate a response to the next NGS deadline for feedback in 2019.

More Information

More information on NATRF2022 and how it will impact Wisconsin will be provide at the Wisconsin Land Information Association (WLIA) Fall Regional Meeting, on Oct. 11-12, 2018, in Sturgeon Bay. There are two presentations on NATRF2022 at this event:

  1. John Ellingson, New Datums Coming in 2022 Could Significantly Change Your World
    Abstract: The National Geodetic Survey (NGS) is currently working to develop new datums that will replace the current horizontal datum (NAD83) and the current vertical datum (NAVD88). These new datums will have improved accuracy and precision and will be noticeably different from current datums. When released by NGS in 2022, they will become the National standard for the United States. This will affect you, and you will need to deal with the changes. Learn about the magnitude of the changes and some options for you to deal with them.
  1. Richard Kleinmann and Howard Veregin, The NATRF2022 Task Force: Goals and Plans
    Abstract: In 2022 the National Geodetic Survey (NGS) plans to introduce a new terrestrial reference system to replace NAD83. The new reference system – North American Terrestrial Reference Frame of 2022, or NATRF2022 – is earth-centered and epoch-based, and will rely on Global Navigation Satellite Systems and an updated geoid model. The rollout of NATRF2022 will have significant effects on surveying, mapping and GIS across Wisconsin. The surveying and geospatial communities in Wisconsin have created a Task Force to help prepare for these effects. The Task Force is organized under the Geospatial Committee of the Wisconsin Society of Land Surveyors. Howard Veregin, Wisconsin State Cartographer, chairs the Task Force, and Richard Kleinmann, who leads the WSLS Geospatial Committee, will be co-Chair. This talk will summarize the goals and plans of the Task Force to address the technical, educational, communication, legislative and software aspects required to respond to the change.

If you have ideas, comments or suggestions the composition of the NATRF2022 Task Force, please contact Richard Kleinmann, 262-522-4920 or Howard Veregin, 608-262-6852.