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A datum transformation is a mathematical calculation that converts location coordinates referenced to one datum to location coordinates referenced to another datum. This calculation does not involve an actual physical relocation of the point in question, but a redefinition of its position relative to a different set of coordinate axes and a different origin point. In a general sense, a datum transformation can be done between any two n-dimensional coordinate systems. In this entry, the discussion will be limited to datum transformations in a geographic context.

Geographic coordinates are expressed in angular terms of longitude and latitude, which are referenced to a particular geodetic ellipsoid of defined size and shape. Also, the ellipsoid of reference used as a model of the earth is positioned in space ...

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