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Although some users continue to work in legacy reference systems, the current geometric reference system adopted by most jurisdictions in Canada and the U.S. is the North American Datum of 1983 (NAD83). It has evolved over the years and there have been many updates, but the fundamental system hasn’t changed for more than three decades.

That’s why the U.S. National Geodetic Survey is now modernizing its National Spatial Reference System (NSRS). They will replace NAD83 as their national geometric reference system with the North American Terrestrial Reference Frame of 2022 (NATRF2022). This update was originally planned for 2022 but has been delayed until 2025. This new system will be aligned to the new International Terrestrial Reference Frame of 2020 (ITRF2020) at epoch 2020.0 but will be fixed to the North American tectonic plate and will drift away from ITRF2020 as the tectonic plate moves about 2.5 cm/yr within the ITRF2020 frame.

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