Geocentric Datum Brunei Darussalam 2009

I launched the Brunei Darussalam Geocentric Datum 2009 yesterday. My speech was about how useful it would be etc. The Surveyor General's speech outlined what Geocentric Datum Brunei Darussalam is all about (if you still don't understand it, then go down to the very last paragraph for my very short non-technical summary):-


The continuing development of global communication and information technologies makes the emergence of global geographic data infrastructure inevitable. Brunei Darussalam is moving towards this global infrastructure by introducing a geocentric datum. This is a new era in geodesy for Brunei Darussalam.

A global geocentric datum is supported and adopted by a growing number of international organizations like the International Federation of Surveyors FIG and the International Hydrographic Organisation IHO.

In many countries, the use of common geocentric datum will facilitate reliable joint survey commission of Land demarcation of neighboring countries and allied forces.

So what is geocentric datum? As the words imply, “geocentric datum” has its origin at the centre of the earth. The key advantages of the GDBD over Brunei Darussalam’s current datum (RSO Rectified Skew Ortmorphic) are that GDBD 2009 is totally compatible with satellite-based navigation systems such as the Global Positioning System (GPS) and with major international geographic systems. In fact, the GDBD 2009 will provide very significant and substantial benefits to those using satellite positioning and/or operating nationally or internationally.

What are the benefits of geocentric datum and the GDA?

Adopting a geocentric datum allows for a single standard for collecting, storing and using geographic data. This will ensure compatibility across various geographic systems at the local, regional, national and global level. This is the main reason that the GDBD will form the basis for the Brunei Darussalam Spatial Data Infrastructure (BSDI) – the infrastructure to manage Brunei Darussalam’s key spatial data sets.

A geocentric datum will also:

• provide direct compatibility with Global Positioning System (GPS) measurements and mapping or Geographic Information Systems (GIS) which are based on the geocentric datum;

• minimize the need for causes users to understand datum transformations;

• allow more efficient use of organisations’ spatial data resources by reducing need for duplication and unnecessary translations;

• help promote wider use of spatial data through one user friendly data environment;

• reduce the risk of confusion as GPS, GIS and navigation systems become more widely used in business and recreational activities.

Why is Brunei Darussalam adopting GDBD?

The current Brunei Darussalam Datum – Brunei Rectified Skew Orthomorphic RSO is based on a mathematical surface of the earth designed to fit the Brunei Darussalamn region.

Continuing to work with RSO coordinates in an international environment where positioning, navigation and information systems relate to a global earth model is becoming increasingly inefficient and difficult.
The use of a globally compatible coordinate systems within Brunei Darussalam is now inevitable and the longer we remain with RSO , the more difficult and expensive it will be to convert to GDBD.

The adoption of a geocentric datum allows for a single standard for the collection, storage and use of geographic data. This will ensure compatibility across various geographic information systems at the local, regional, national and global level.

In implementing a geocentric datum, Brunei Darussalam will achieve maximum benefit in the application of the Global Positioning System (GPS).

This important step has vast economical and practical benefits for Brunei Darussalam. With a geocentric datum as Brunei Darussalam’s geodetic reference system, an integrated national geographic data infrastructure can be established. This national resource will support economic, social and environmental decision making.

Many countries are already developing a national spatial (geographic) data infrastructure NSDI in a global context. Brunei Darussalam’s move to a geocentric datum will enable us to advance in this direction.


Surveyors rely on one major point to do their surveys and from that major point, build more points throughout the area. Brunei all this while has been using the Borneo point which is at Tembalai in Labuan since 1948. Why Tembalai? Easy, the British. Anyway since then, Sarawak, Sabah and Brunei had been using that. However over time, we found out that this is getting skewered and not very accurate. So the need to move to a digital one and using satellites. Now, our survey points are fixed to the satellite and measuring it from the centre of the earth. Don't ask me how. But suffice to say, the Geocentric Datum makes all survey calculations more accurate.


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