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Transforming Data Standards: Tweed Shire Council’s Successful Migration to GDA2020 with Open Spatial

Updated: May 5, 2023

Image showing the approximate shift that has occurred between GDA94 to GDA2020 standards.
Approximate shift from GDA94 to GDA2020 locations across Australia. (From


The Tweed Shire Council is a local government area located in the Northern Rivers region of New South Wales, Australia. The council is responsible for providing a range of services to the community, including water, sewer and stormwater, waste management, planning and development, road maintenance, and community facilities. The council aims to provide high-quality services to its residents and visitors, and to promote a safe, healthy, and sustainable community. The council also works closely with other organizations and agencies to address local issues and to support the growth and development of the Tweed region.


  • Due to Tweed’s location, the Conformal + Distortion data transformation method needed to be used due to the earth’s crust deformation in the area

  • The data transformation needed to be executed as quickly as possible to minimize the impact on the business operations

  • Tweed also wanted to change the production Oracle database instance

“Working with Open Spatial to undertake the GDA2020 transformation made the process seamless. The pre-planning provided by the Open Spatial team was clear and concise which made it a stress-free project for the GIS staff.”


The Geocentric Datum of Australia (GDA) is a coordinate system used for mapping and surveying in Australia. The current version of the datum, GDA94, was introduced in 1994 and has been in use for over 25 years.

The development of a new datum, called GDA2020, was required due to:

  • Advances in technology and the need for more accurate mapping

  • Tectonic plate moves roughly 7cm NNE per year and the difference is now between 1.5m and 1.8m across Australia

  • Earth’s geocenter, axis orientation, and shape has become better defined from GDA94

This new datum will replace GDA94 and will provide improved accuracy and consistency for mapping and surveying in Australia. The change from GDA94 to GDA2020 requires updates to mapping software and data.


  • Open Spatial enabled the new Oracle database to execute the Conformal + Distortion data transformation method inside Oracle without the need for an Extract-Transfer-Load (ETL) process

  • The above makes use of the published Intergovernmental Committee on Surveying and Mapping (ICSM) grid files

  • Open Spatial also improved the Oracle functionality by adding the ability to transform circular arc geometries

  • The core data transformation process took only 3 hours and 13 minutes

  • The GDA94 database and schema was retained for reference purposes

Distortion component across the EAST sub grid.  Units are in meters.
Distortion component across the EAST sub grid. Units are in meters.


Tweed Shire Council greatly increased the quality of their data through the successful upgrade from Geocentric Datum of Australia (GDA) 94 to GDA2020. Open Spatial guided Tweed Shire Council through the data transformation process as well as allowed them to maintain access to their GDA94 data for future reference.

Open Spatial implemented a new Oracle instance to serve as a future production environment where Tweed Shire Council could test all its information as it migrates to the new standard. Upon setting up the new environment, Open Spatial guided Tweed Shire Council through the go-live, refreshing schemas from the GDA94-based production environment to the new GDA2020 production environment, ensuring the proper execution of all transformation scripts, connections to integrated systems, as well as guaranteeing that all connected systems know they are now reading GDA2020 data.

Upon finalizing the transformation, the post-project support team ensured that all outstanding issues were resolved, and systems were functioning as expected. Migration of data from GDA94 to GDA2020 provides the most accurate foundation for Tweed Shire Council’s data and its future planning.

Open Spatial is a geospatial leader in Australia’s GIS industry and has worked closely with Tweed Shire Council since 2012, to ensure accurate and timely data, using the most up-to-date standards.


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