The FAO Africover Project and a Possiblity of a Unified Geodetic Datum for Africa (UGDA)
Author(s)/Corporate Author (s)United Nations. Economic Commission for Africa;
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The FAO executed AFRICOVER Project aims at the Production of a homogeneous land cover mapping at scales of 1/250,000 to 1/100,000 covering the whole of the Continent of Africa. To carry out this momentous objective, it has been planned to start with the harmonization of the geodetic datum, mapping spheroids and projections. The WG84 has been selected as the geodetic datum to be used together with IAG-6RS80 reference spheroid. This is indeed an ambitious decision and very important for Africa. if it is successfully implemented, at the end of the project, Africa will have a unified datum and spheroid. This is the goal the geodetic communities have been straining to achieve for nearly a century since the 30th Arc Meridian network was conceived by the South African astronomer, Sir David Gill at the end of the 19th Century. In this paper, the author proposes that the geodetic community should cooperate with FAO and all concerned with the AFRICOVER project to ensure that the resulting unified Datum meets geodetic standards. Following this project, the remaining geodetic networks of Africa could then be transformed into the World Geodetic System, so linking Africa to the rest of the world.