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Three-dimensional systems

Modern positioning systems – GPS, Glonass, Galileo and Beidou – are global and therefore require three-dimensional, globally adapted reference systems.

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 coordinate system (X,Y,Z), also known as a Cartesian coordinate system. Positions can be converted into geodetic coordinates – latitude and longitude – which, together with the height above the ellipsoid, define the three-dimensional position.

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

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