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Three-dimensional systems

Three-dimensional reference systems are used to give unambiguous positional references on a global scale.

As satellite-based surveying techniques, such as GPS, began to be adopted on an increasing scale during the 1990's, the importance of three-dimensional reference systems also began to increase.

The fundament for all spatial information is the reference system. To give positions, determination of three dimensions is required, normally in a three-dimensional right-angled co-ordinate system (X, Y, Z), also known as a Cartesian co-ordinate system. Positions can be converted into geodetic co-ordinates – latitude and longitude – which, together with the height above the ellipsoid, define the three-dimensional position. As the location of a point can be given in different reference systems, it is important to indicate in which reference system a given position is valid.

Further information about ellipsoids and three-dimensional reference systems (pdf, in Swedish).

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