Last updated: 10:00 AM ET, Wed August 03 2016

Australia Is On The Move And Now Needs Coordinate Changes

Travel Technology | Gabe Zaldivar | August 03, 2016

Australia Is On The Move And Now Needs Coordinate Changes

Photo courtesy of Thinkstock

You can’t stop Australia; you can only hope to update its coordinates.

NBC News reports a couple of startling items you may not have previously considered about the proud expanse of Australia. For one, it’s moving at a clip of about 2.7 inches a year thanks to tectonic shifts and the country’s restless nature. OK, that latter part might be our own presumption.

That first part is enough for anyone to rub their chin and carry on the day armed with a nifty piece of trivia.

But it’s the second aspect of the report that mandates not only your attention but the work of researchers. You see, the movement means that coordinates that are grossly outdated need to be brought into alignment thanks to the advent of driverless technology.

GPS systems need to have far more exact longitude and latitude coordinates, to be sure. But it’s the advent of driverless tractors and the possibility of ubiquitous driverless cars that really has officials scrambling to bring measurements more commensurate to how the area now sits.

The report states, “Starting in 2017, the country's government will move the official longitude and latitude coordinates of the continent about 6 feet north (1.8 meters, to be precise).”

Australia’s ABC News was nice enough to share thoughts from Dan Jaksa who works at Geoscience Australia.

Jaksa explains that the updated measurements represent the first time a change has been implemented since 1994. Australia has quite literally moved on since that time.

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Jaksa tells the publication: “The cost of not doing this outweighs the cost of doing it. At the moment they [smart devices] have to adjust everything because the information you have doesn't line up with the [physical] position. So the map information those systems use need to be coincident with the [navigation] system they're using which is GPS. Quite frankly, we need to update the datum if they're going to become a reality.”

Recently we reported on driverless cars getting an even bigger push in Singapore. Earlier this year the United Kingdom also offered its plan to test similar technology by 2017.

Rather than a sci-fi exaggeration, autonomous vehicles are increasingly likely to be a foregone conclusion to the evolution of modern transportation infrastructure.

It would be nice to have your GPS be as exact as possible for your own respective travels.

But the real crucial aspect to all this, and something echoed in the reports listed above, is ensuring the safety of the next iteration of automotive travel.

We can’t simply ask Australia to stop its migration. Thankfully, we can take out the figurative tape measure and guarantee we actually know where it is at all times.

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