The future of mapping lies in 8 centimeters

See how our Chief Executive Officer saw the future of mapping in 2019

There is currently a debate about the accuracy requirements of mapping work. Let's take a look at the history of why the so-called third class of mapping accuracy is currently used, especially in the Land Registry, but also by most technical infrastructure managers.

This class is defined by the mean coordinate error of the detailed positioning point mxy = 0.14 meters, which was introduced in 1969 in a directive for the production of technical and economic maps at that time (this mapping lasted until 1980).

Subsequently, in 1981, the Guidelines for the Creation of the Large Scale Base Map of the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic were issued, which introduced mapping accuracy classes.

The first class of mapping accuracy had a defined mean coordinate error of the detailed position map point mxy=0.04 m, for the second class it was set mxy=0.08 m.

During the mapping work between 1969 and 1992, when the mapping was mainly carried out with an accuracy of mxy=0.14 m, approximately 25 percent of the territory of the Czech Republic was mapped.

Fifty years

It's 2019, exactly 50 years since the introduction of the mxy 0.14 m mean coordinate error of the detailed position point, and we are still submitting surveying work with the accuracy defined half a century ago!

In doing so, we have instruments with split-second precision, GNSS equipment allowing real-time coordinate measurements, drones, laser scanners, and powerful evaluation software in the cloud.

If I were to look for comparison - it's like driving a car made in the 1960s in 2019 and claiming it's still modern... and that the world hasn't changed.

As surveyors, we measure much more accurately, but only a small proportion of our customers demand that higher accuracy, so we pretend we still measure as accurately.

For the Land Registry, the mean coordinate error of a detailed point mxy=0.14 m is a great accuracy.

But is it sufficient for today's requirements for bridges, high-speed railways, high-rise buildings, tunnels, and other common structures? The answer is no. We, surveyors, know it, planners know it, transport infrastructure managers know it, and many other professions know it, because they all need higher accuracy and surveyors can and often do deliver it without problems.

Another fifty years anyway?

There are now discussions about a new mapping work, a technical work covering the whole territory of the Czech Republic, a new Digital Technical Map of the Czech Republic (DMVS), which, if created, will serve for another fifty, a hundred or more years.

Will we be content for the next fifty years to measure in the third accuracy class as it was proposed in 1969?

If we settle for 14 centimeters for the next few decades, we will have almost 100 years of measurement in a class of accuracy that is, of course, in many cases unusable in practice.

In my opinion, therefore, it is time, where it makes sense, to increase the requirements for measurements to be submitted to the aforementioned second accuracy class of mxy=0.08 m. After all, we surveyors can already measure this with modern instruments without increasing costs.

As a surveyor, I believe that together we will be able to convince the rest of the technical community that the time has come to move from the third class of mapping accuracy to the second. And in another 50 years, maybe we will start mapping in the first class and after 100 years we will have achieved what we were actually able to do in 1981.

Ing. Jan Floriánek

Do you want to be informed about the news? We will send you Georevue.
I want to subscribe