A New World Geographic Reference System
Authors: Clarke, Keith C.; Dana, Peter H.; Hastings, Jordan T.
Source: Cartography and Geographic Information Science, 1 October 2002, vol. 29, no. 4, pp. 355-362(8)
Abstract:A new global georeferencing system—the World Geographic Reference System (WGRS)—is proposed. This system has particular advantages for location description and communication with electronic devices, i.e., in digital environments that are shared between humans and machines. The new World Geographic Reference System strikes a compromise between the dominant use of numbers in established scientific coordinate systems, such as latitude/longitude, and the colloquial preference for names, particularly names of administrative units and populated places, in everyday life. Specifically, WGRS defines a system of uniform regional grids, each 1OOx1OO km in extent, anchored on and named by prominent cultural and/or physical features. Subsets of these regional grids, called local grids, which are particularly adapted to smaller places, also may be defined. A location within a regional or local grid is georeferenced by suffixing the grid identifier with a coordinate string of dotted-digit-pairs that represent interleaved Cartesian x-y displacements from the grid origin. A typical WGRS locator, for example, is US.DC.WAS.54.18.28, representing a 1OOx1OO m area, the southwest corner of which is 0.512 of the way across (east) and 0.488 of the way up (north) in the Washington, D.C., grid, roughly the lawn surrounding the Washington Monument. This locator, which is easily interpreted by both humans and machines, also may be effectively communicated between them via computer networks using a notation, such as "wgrp://US.DC.WAS.54.18.28" in web code. The similarity of WGRS locators (WGLs) to Uniform Resource Locators (URLs) on the Internet is intentional, facilitating their use in Web and wireless application interfaces, especially those employed in location-based service systems.
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: October 1, 2002