Georeferencing in B.C.

The emergence of the Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) and Global Positioning System (GPS) technology is playing a major role in the development and management of the geospatial reference system in British Columbia.

Geospatial referencing, or georeferencing, provides the geographic coordinate system for all surveying and mapping applications. In B.C., it is comprised of two primary components that both provide compatible coordinates:

  1. A physically monumented system
  2. A satellite positioning reference system

The B.C. Government must ensure that the physical system and the active control system are compatible and evolve in harmony with each other. The active control technology has matured and is firmly embedded as a cost-effective reference system in British Columbia. The physical system will gradually evolve until only a network of key monuments will be maintained.

Active Control System

The B.C. Active Control System (BCACS) is responsible for the delivery of GNSS infrastructure to support georeferencing of land-related data in the province. BCACS allows post-mission and real-time positioning for a variety of users. The B.C. Government’s BCACS group develops and maintains standards, specifications and guidelines for satellite-based georeferencing.

Geodetic Database

B.C.’s geospatial reference database consists of two components. The Management of Survey Control Operations & Tasks (MASCOT) system manages the physically monumented system data. The Provincial Master Active Control System is used to manage the satellite-based data. The B.C. Government maintains the database and is responsible for data standards, security and backup.

Geoid Model Data

The geoid model contributes to the vertical component of B.C.'s geospatial reference system. The B.C. Government is responsible for managing, processing and analyzing geodetic survey information in order to derive final coordinates and elevations for storage, access and use.

Vertical Reference System

Vertical or height reference systems define geographic elevation and depth in relation to sea level. A new system is being implemented which will result in changes to benchmark elevations across B.C.