Geodetic Datum

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Geodetic Datum

A datum consisting of five quantities, the latitude and longitude and elevation above the reference spheroid of an initial point, a line from this point, and two constants which define the reference spheroid. Azimuth or orientation of the line, given the longitude, is determined by astronomic observations. Alternatively, the datum may be considered as three rectangular coordinates fixing the origin of a coordinate system whose orientation is determined by the fixed stars, and the reference spheroid is an arbitrary coordinate surface of an orbiting ellipsoidal coordinate system. </dd>
A geodetic datum forms the basis for the computation of horizontal control surveys in which the curvature of the earth is considered. </dd>


This article is based on NASA's Dictionary of Technical Terms for Aerospace Use