Kinematic datum shifting utilizing a deformation model¶
New in version 5.0.0.
Perform datum shifts means of a deformation/velocity model.
Input type  Cartesian coordinates (spatial), decimalyears (temporal). 
Output type  Cartesian coordinates (spatial), decimalyears (temporal). 
Domain  4D 
Input type  Geodetic coordinates 
Output type  Geodetic coordinates 
The deformation operation is used to adjust coordinates for intraplate deformations. Usually the transformation parameters for regional platefixed reference frames such as the ETRS89 does not take intraplate deformation into account. It is assumed that tectonic plate of the region is rigid. Often times this is true, but near the plate boundary and in areas with postglacial uplift the assumption breaks. Intraplate deformations can be modelled and then applied to the coordinates so that they represent the physical world better. In PROJ this is done with the deformation operation.
The horizontal grid is stored in CTable2 format and the vertical grid is stored in the GTX format. Both grids are expected to contain gridvalues in units of mm/year. GDAL both reads and writes both file formats. Using GDAL for construction of new grids is recommended.
Example¶
In [Hakli2016] coordinate transformation including a deformation model is described. The paper describes how coordinates from the global ITRFxx frames are transformed to the local Nordic realisations of ETRS89. Scandinavia is an area with significant postglacial rebound. The deformations from the postglacial uplift is not accounted for in the official ETRS89 transformations so in order to get accurate transformations in the Nordic countries it is necessary to apply the deformation model. The transformation from ITRF2008 to the Danish realisation of ETRS89 is in PROJ described as:
proj = pipeline ellps = GRS80
# ITRF2008@t_obs > ITRF2000@t_obs
step init = ITRF2008:ITRF2000
# ITRF2000@t_obs > ETRF2000@t_obs
step proj=helmert t_epoch = 2000.0 convention=position_vector
x = 0.054 rx = 0.000891 drx = 8.1e05
y = 0.051 ry = 0.00539 dry = 0.00049
z = 0.048 rz = 0.008712 drz = 0.000792
# ETRF2000@t_obs > NKG_ETRF00@2000.0
step proj = deformation t_epoch = 2000.0
xy_grids = ./nkgrf03vel_realigned_xy.ct2
z_grids = ./nkgrf03vel_realigned_z.gtx
inv
# NKG_ETRF@2000.0 > ETRF92@2000.0
step proj=helmert convention=position_vector s = 0.009420e
x = 0.03863 rx = 0.00617753
y = 0.147 ry = 5.064e05
z = 0.02776 rz = 4.729e05
# ETRF92@2000.0 > ETRF92@1994.704
step proj = deformation dt = 5.296
xy_grids = ./nkgrf03vel_realigned_xy.ct2
z_grids = ./nkgrf03vel_realigned_z.gtx
From this we can see that the transformation from ITRF2008 to the Danish realisation of ETRS89 is a combination of Helmert transformations and adjustments with a deformation model. The first use of the deformation operation is:
proj = deformation t_epoch = 2000.0
xy_grids = ./nkgrf03vel_realigned_xy.ct2
z_grids = ./nkgrf03vel_realigned_z.gtx
Here we set the central epoch of the transformation, 2000.0. The observation epoch
is expected as part of the input coordinate tuple. The deformation model is
described by two grids, specified with +xy_grids
and +z_grids
.
The first is the horizontal part of the model and the second is the vertical
component.
Parameters¶

+xy_grids
=<list>
¶ Commaseparated list of grids to load. If a grid is prefixed by an @ the grid is considered optional and PROJ will the not complain if the grid is not available.
Grids for the horizontla component of a deformation model is expected to be in CTable2 format.

+z_grids
=<list>
¶ Commaseparated list of grids to load. If a grid is prefixed by an @ the grid is considered optional and PROJ will the not complain if the grid is not available.
Grids for the vertical component of a deformation model is expected to be in either GTX format.
Mathematical description¶
Mathematically speaking, application of a deformation model is simple. The deformation model is represented as a grid of velocities in three dimensions. Coordinate corrections are applied in cartesian space. For a given coordinate, \((X, Y, Z)\), velocities \((V_X, V_Y, V_Z)\) can be interpolated from the gridded model. The time span between \(t_{obs}\) and \(t_c\) determine the magnitude of the coordinate correcton as seen in eq. (1) below.
Corrections are done in cartesian space.
Coordinates of the gridded model are in ENU (east, north, up) space because it would otherwise require an enormous 3 dimensional grid to handle the corrections in cartesian space. Keeping the correction in lat/long space reduces the complexity of the grid significantly. Consequently though, the input coordinates needs to be converted to lat/long space when searching for corrections in the grid. This is done with the cart operation. The converted grid corrections can then be applied to the input coordinates in cartesian space. The conversion from ENU space to cartesian space is done in the following way:
where \(\phi\) and \(\lambda\) are the latitude and longitude of the coordinate that is searched for in the grid. \((E, N, U)\) are the grid values in ENUspace and \((X, Y, Z)\) are the corrections converted to cartesian space.