One year after the UN-GGIM decided to formulate a draft resolution for a global geodetic reference frame, it endorsed the draft GGRF. So far, the contributions to the development of Global Geodetic Reference Frame (GGRF) are based on the ‘best efforts’ of member nations but this draft envisages a multilateral collaboration under a UN mandate. The draft will now be debated and reflected upon by ECOSOC before being presented to the UN General Assembly for adoption later this year. Once adopted, the ‘mandate’ is poised to attract investments in geodetic infrastructure, facilitate interoperable and interchangeable data and encourage open geodetic data access policies while reducing data security concerns among nations.
The economic value of precise positioning and the need for such measurements in the backdrop of increased frequency and intensity of disasters and the impending climate change challenges is a given. The unanimous support announced by GEO, FIG and several nations only reinforces the imminent need for an accurate, sustainable and operational GGRF.
The challenge however lies with national governments taking up the responsibility of establishing and maintaining sound national geodetic reference frames which could serve as a foundation for the global system. To realise the conceived benefits of this mandate, it would be appropriate for UN-GGIM to lay down the detailed technical specifications and standards, chalk out time-lines and facilitate knowledge transfer and training of the personnel.