Since the 1960s, the Province of Nova Scotia has carried a mandate of providing spatial referencing infrastructure for its citizens. This infrastructure is known as the Nova Scotia Coordinate Referencing System (NSCRS) and allows property, engineering works and natural features to be spatially related within the Province (including Sable Island).
Traditionally, thousands of survey monuments have provided access the NSCRS for surveying and engineering work. Of the original 23,000 monuments installed in the 1970s and 80s, many have been destroyed. In the case of Sable Island, most have been enveloped by sand and the sea. In 2013, the Province began implementing a modernized strategy for delivering spatial referencing services to its citizens using permanent GPS stations. One of these stations was installed at Main Station on Sable Island in June of 2014.
The GPS infrastructure has already had a positive impact by:
- Allowing for preliminary position trends (e.g. settlement) to be quantified with millimeter level accuracy at Main Station;
- Enabling LiDAR and aerial photography surveys to be consistently referenced within a global coordinate system; and
- Allowing natural features to be quickly measured with millimeter level accuracy and consequently enabling long term, position trends of these features (e.g., Bald Dune) to be determined on a go-forward basis.