Recent Updates to the WGS 84 Reference Frame

Robert F. Wong, Craig M. Rollins, Clifton F. Minter

Abstract: The World Geodetic System 1984 (WGS 84) [1] was developed and is maintained by the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency (NGA) for the US Department of Defense. WGS 84 provides a common global reference frame and collection of geophysical models used to collect and represent virtually all modern geospatial data. The Global Positioning System (GPS) uses WGS 84 as its geodetic reference system. Consequently all real-time users of GPS are, often without knowing it, using the WGS 84 reference frame. This paper describes the latest improvements to the WGS 84 reference frame and quantifies its alignment with ITRF2008. The results show that this latest realization of the WGS 84 reference frame is coincident with ITRF2008 to within 1 cm in the following sense -- each component of a 7-parameter similarity transformation that compares GPS ephemerides on the WGS frame to GPS ephemerides on the ITRF frame has an Earth surface equivalency of 1 cm or less. A table of the Cartesian and geodetic coordinates that realize the WGS 84 Reference Frame is presented with a graphic displaying their global distribution.
Published in: Proceedings of the 25th International Technical Meeting of The Satellite Division of the Institute of Navigation (ION GNSS 2012)
September 17 - 21, 2012
Nashville Convention Center, Nashville, Tennessee
Nashville, TN
Pages: 1164 - 1172
Cite this article: Wong, Robert F., Rollins, Craig M., Minter, Clifton F., "Recent Updates to the WGS 84 Reference Frame," Proceedings of the 25th International Technical Meeting of The Satellite Division of the Institute of Navigation (ION GNSS 2012), Nashville, TN, September 2012, pp. 1164-1172.
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