Geodetic Data Interchange Standards

Ensuring access to precise positioning by improving geodetic data interchange standards.

The Challenge

Current Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) enable existing and emerging industries to use real-time precise positioning data, allowing them to improve productivity, efficiency, safety and decision making. Standards play a crucial role when combining GNSS and geodetic data with data from other domains. However, current standards for delivering geodetic data do not adequately serve the needs of the broad spectrum of users across government, industry, science and societal applications. In order to service users demands in a robust way, geodetic data and the associated metadata need to be standardised, discoverable and interoperable. The main objective of this work was to perform a scoping study on the current state of geodetic standards for information interchange, and their support of findability, accessibility, interoperability and re-usability (FAIR) of geodetic resources (i.e. precise positioning data, metadata and services).


The primary project partners were Geoscience Australia and Curtin University with the Victorian Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning as a support partner. Several overseas institutions are also providing input including GNS Science, UNAVCO, Royal Observatory of Belgium: EUREF Permanent Network (EPN), and Land Information New Zealand.

The Solution

This research investigated and documented the critical gaps in existing data standards which restrict how FAIR precise positioning data is for the expected high use sectors and identified how these gaps can be filled thereby lowering barriers to use. A desk-based research method was adopted, using a combination of referenced scientific literature and grey literature, such as organisational technical reports, white papers, analyses, websites and discussion, mostly sourced through agencies and societies for GNSS. The main findings from the work include the need for:

  • Increasing the FAIR-ness of current geodetic standards, which is only possible through establishing detailed community-specific requirements for FAIR, and setting up a FAIR-ness compliance test for geodetic data and metadata records.
  • Ensuring that precise positioning metadata supports precise positioning end-user requirements.
  • A review and definition of how metadata (i.e. formats, metrics, mode of interaction) is delivered to human and machine users.
  • Definitions of which metadata are essential to be included with the data according to the way data is accessed (e.g. streamed to a receiver, offered for download or accessed via the Web).
  • Definitions of use cases and identified components of GNSS information flow for each GNSS end-user sector.
  • A review and revision of the rationale of the GeodesyML standard is warranted to reflect the current best practice of providing spatial data over the web.

Findings from this scoping work confirmed that improvements are necessary in the current practice of specification and supply of GNSS and geodetic data and metadata to end-users. Current geodetic standards and practices do not have sufficient support for FAIR, as in the past they were aimed at specialist human users only. This situation is changing rapidly as new positioning markets emerge and more non-specialist human and machine users need access to positioning and geodetic data. As such, it is vital for the geodetic community to adopt FAIR standards and practices as early as possible. This will lower barriers to use for the broadening spectrum of users and enable straight forward information interchange and the ability to combine geodetic data with data from other domains. Follow-up work is underway at Curtin University, Geoscience Australia and FrontierSI, with the objective of enabling users of Positioning Australia services to receive FAIR and relevant precise positioning information in the future.

Final Report

Download the final report here (PDF, 5MB)


To learn more, contact FrontierSI at or Positioning and Geodesy Technical Lead, Eldar Rubinov, at