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The Geospatial Reference consists of two main components - a physical monumented system and an emerging satellite positioning reference system. Both systems provide compatible universal coordinates.

The emergence of the new Global Positioning System technology is playing a major role in the development and management of the Geospatial Reference in British Columbia. The Geospatial Reference Unit must ensure that the physical and the active control system are compatible and evolve in harmony with each other. Once the BCACS technology has matured and is firmly embedded as a cost effective all users reference system in British Columbia, the majority of the physical system will gradually evolve until only a network of key monuments will be maintained. Over the coming years, the Units operational structure will continue to evolve and align itself with the maturation of the BC Active Control System and other technologies that enable greater access to the provincial Geospatial Reference Framework.

The Geospatial Reference Unit mandate is delivered through three working groups:

  • Active Control System Group
  • Geodetic Reference System Group
  • Geodetic Database Management Group

Active Control System Group

This group is responsible for the delivery of a Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) infrastructure to support geo-referencing of land-related data in British Columbia. The BC Active Control System allows post-mission and real-time positioning for a myriad of users. The group also develops and maintains standards, specifications, and guidelines for satellite based georeferencing.

Geodetic Reference System Group

This group is responsible for managing, processing and analyzing geodetic survey information in order to derive final coordinates and elevations for storage, access and use. The unit ensures that survey network designs, data collection processing, and monument maintenance adhere to accepted standards, procedures and specifications.

Geodetic Database Management Group

This group is responsible for managing and maintaining the provincial Geospatial Reference database. The Management of Survey Control Operations and Tasks (MASCOT) system is used to manage the physical monumented system data and Provincial Master Active Control System (PMACS) is used to manage the satellite based data. Complex algorithms and software are developed and maintained to help deliver the geodetic data and attributes. Database functions entail hardware/software issues, data standards and specifications, processing standards and procedures, data integrity, data currency, data timeliness, data access, records management, data and system security and system archive and backup.