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A Country Report on the Geodetic and Tidal

Activities in Malaysia
1. INTRODUCTION

Malaysia covers an area of about 329,758 square kilometers, consisting of 11 states in


Peninsular Malaysia and 2 states in Borneo (Sabah and Sarawak) and a Federal Territory.
Peninsular Malaysia, covering 131,598 sq. km. has its frontiers with Thailand and Singapore
while the states in Borneo covering 198,160 sq. km, borders the territory of Indonesia’s
Kalimantan to the South and Brunei to the North. Malaysia lies close to the equator between
latitudes of 1° and 7° N and longitudes of 100° and 119° E. It has a population of 22 million.

The Department of Survey and Mapping, Malaysia (DSMM) traces its origin way back in
1886. At present, its functions amongst others include geodetic and topographic surveys,
topographic and thematic mapping, demarcation and survey of international boundaries and
cadastral surveys.

In the recent years, there have been numerous geodetic projects implemented by DSMM on a
nation wide scale. Collectively, these projects were and are executed with the aim of
providing horizontal and vertical controls for the development of various infrastructures
across the country.

2. THE MALAYSIAN GEODETIC NETWORK

2.1 Peninsular Malaysia

The Malaysian Revised Triangulation (MRT) has been used for geodetic, mapping, cadastral
and other survey activities since 1948 in Peninsular Malaysia. This network consists 77
geodetic, 240 primary, 837 secondary and 51 tertiary stations and is based on the conventional
observations dated as far back as 1885. The MRT has been adopted as a result of the re-
computations of the earlier network together with the Primary (Repsold) Triangulation (MAP
1) carried out between 1913 and 1916. The map projection used for mapping in Peninsular
Malaysia is Rectified Skew Orthomorphic (RSO) and the Cassini Soldner for cadastral
surveys.

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2.2 East Malaysia (Sabah and Sarawak)

The triangulation network in Sabah and Sarawak, known as Borneo Triangulation, 1968
(BT68) resulted from the re-adjustment of the primary control of East Malaysia (Sabah,
Sarawak and Brunei) made by the Directorate of Overseas Surveys, United Kingdom (DOS).
This network consists of the Borneo West Coast Triangulation of Brunei and Sabah (1930-
1942), Borneo East Coast Triangulation of Sarawak and extension of the West Coast
Triangulation in Sabah (1955-1960) and some new points surveyed between 1961 and 1968.
This geodetic network is shown in MAP 2. The map projection used for mapping and
cadastral surveys is RSO.

3. OTHER GEODETIC NETWORK

3.1 South East Asia Datum

The MRT extends over 700 km with connections to the Indonesian triangulation in the south
and the Thailand triangulation network in the north. In 1965, the American Mapping Service
(AMS) carried out an internal re-adjustment of the MRT in order to connect it to the South
East Asia Datum (SEA Datum). In 1965, AMS re-adjusted the MRT data in the South East
Asia Datum using three triangulation points in Thailand held fixed. The network was later
strengthened by re-measurement of the 3 original baselines and the measurement of one new
baseline using Geodimeter, together with four Laplace Stations. A geoidal profile was
determined from the available astrogeodetic data in order to correctly reduce the measured
distances. Between 1967-1969, 1205 points had been computed in geographical and RSO
coordinates.

3.2 Doppler Observations

In 1978, the British Army Survey carried out a Doppler campaign in Peninsular Malaysia,
Sabah and Sarawak in order to connect the local network to the World Geodetic System 1972
(WGS 72). The network consists of 5 points of the MRT and 5 points of BT68. The given
accuracy is of the order of three metres. However, the observations were never used for any
re-adjustment of the MRT and BT68.

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4. GPS NETWORKS

4.1 Peninsular Malaysia

A GPS network of 238 stations as in MAP 3 had been observed in Peninsular Malaysia using
four Ashtech LX II dual frequency receivers. The acquired data was processed and adjusted in
1993. The main objectives were to establish a new GPS network, analyze the existing
geodetic network and obtain transformation parameters between WGS84 of GPS and MRT.
In the network adjustment, a minimally constrained adjustment was made with Kertau,
Pahang (Origin) held fixed. The coordinates of Kertau are in approximate WGS84 and
derived from Doppler coordinates of NSWC 9Z-2 reference frame. The Ashtech processing
software with broadcast ephemeris was used for the determination of the baseline solutions.
The relative accuracy of the network is 1-2 ppm for horizontal coordinates and 3-5 ppm for
vertical.

4.2 East Malaysia (Sabah and Sarawak)

In 1994, GPS observations were made using Trimble 4000SSE L1/L2 receivers to establish a
new GPS network. In the network adjustment, a constrained adjustment was made with
coordinates of STRE (para. 5.1 below) fixed. Broadcast ephemeris was used for baseline
determinations. The relative accuracy of the network as shown in MAP 4 is found to be better
than 1 ppm for horizontal coordinates and 2-3 ppm for vertical.

5. OTHER GPS CAMPAIGNS IN MALAYSIA

5.1 GPS Observations By STRE

In November 1993, the Squadron of Technical Royal Engineers (STRE) of the United
Kingdom observed on 5 existing Doppler points and 9 new GPS stations in Peninsular
Malaysia. In Sabah and Sarawak, 7 existing Doppler points and 4 trigonometric stations were
observed. The aim of this exercise was to establish better transformation parameters from
Doppler to WGS84 for the region and to connect Peninsular Malaysia to Sabah and Sarawak.
In December 1993, the GPS observations were successfully completed and the results were
based on the WGS84 reference frame. Results of STRE adjustments show that the absolute
accuracy of WGS84 coordinates for the X, Y and Z axes is at 1m respectively.

5.2 GEODYSSEA Project

The GEODYSSEA Project, which was initiated in 1994 and completed in 1997, was to study
the plate motion and crustal deformation in the region of South and South East Asia. GPS

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campaigns were carried out in December 1994 and April 1996 to study such motion. This was
followed by a GEODYSSEA seminar held in Penang, Malaysia in April 1997 where the
results of the campaign were tabled and discussed.

Even though the GEODYSSEA project was officially ended in 1997, the geodynamics study
is still on going with a GPS campaign carried out in September 1998 to further gauge and
confirm the plate movement in the region as initiated by the GEODYSSEA project. With the
availability of such data, a time series dynamics of the region could be collected and studied.

From the two GPS campaigns of 1994 and 1997, a zero order network had been set-up in
Malaysia with coordinates referring to ITRF94 and ITRF96 and with an absolute accuracy of
better than ±3cm.

5.3 Asia And Pacific Regional Geodetic Project Under The Permanent
Committee For GIS Infrastructure For Asia And The Pacific (PCGIAP)

The primary role of the Asia and Pacific Regional Geodetic Project (APRGP) is to
facilitate a single regional datum through a network of compatible geodetic datum.
Through this project, it is hoped to:

• Establish a reference regional datum; and

• Determine the transformation values between the regional datum and the local
geodetic datum of the individual countries.

The first APRGP campaign was organized by AUSLIG in 1997 (APRGP97) to establish a
geodetic infrastructure to support GIS in the Asia and the Pacific region. The second
campaign (APRGP98) also coincided with GEODYSSEA in September 1998. The APRGP97
results had been discussed in Canberra, Australia from 2 to 4 July 1998. The matters
discussed were as follows:
• GPS data analysis
• Satellite Laser Ranging (SLR) Solutions
• VLBI solutions
• Geodetic datum of Malaysia, Japan, Philippines, Vietnam, Australia and New
Zealand
• GEODYSSEA results
• Regional Geodetic Datum
• Transformation from Local to Regional Datum
• ITRF densification for Asia and the Pacific

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• Unification of vertical datum
• Linking National Vertical Datum
• Cartesian 3-D Datum

The results of APRGP98 and other related matters had been discussed in Ho Chi Minh City,
Vietnam from 11 to 14 July 1999. In the discussion, the member countries presented the final
solutions and derived velocities and comparison were made to the GEODYSSEA results.

The APRGP 1999 campaign results were discussed in Mongolia in August 2000. DSMM
presented two papers entitled “Malaysian Active GPS System - Current Status and
Preliminary Results” and “Preliminary Results of APRGP99 - Processing at the Department
of Survey And Mapping Malaysia”. The papers showed the preliminary results of data
processing for MASS network and the APRGP99 campaign.

The last APRGP campaign was carried out in 2000 and its result will be discussed in the
workshop to be held in September 2001 in Malaysia.

6. HEIGHT SYSTEM

6.1 Introduction

Bench Mark values are one of the products of DSMM to support various activities in the field
of geodetic, mapping, engineering surveys and other scientific studies.

In Peninsular Malaysia, the levelling network started in 1912 using the Land Survey Datum
1912 (LSD1912). Since then, it has been used as a base for the second order levelling.
However, the measurement carried out was not uniform and the network adjustment was not
homogeneous.

The technological advances in the field of surveying and the demand for an accurate height
control among users has prompted DSMM to improve the existing height control. In its effort
to re-define a new National Geodetic Vertical Datum (NGVD) for Peninsular Malaysia,
DSMM implemented three projects commencing in the early 1980s. These projects were the
Tidal Observation Project, the Precise Levelling Project and Gravity Survey Project with the
following objectives:

• Tidal Observation Project : to determine the MSL and tide studies

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• Precise Levelling Project : connecting the tide gauges with precise levelling

• Gravity Survey Project : providing orthometric corrections for heights

6.2 Tidal Observation Project

The establishment of the Tidal Observation Network (TON) in Malaysia commenced in 1983.
This project was initialized and carried out by DSMM with the cooperation of the Japan
International Cooperation Agency (JICA). Twenty-one (21) tide stations were established by
the end of 1995, in which twelve (12) were located in Peninsular Malaysia and the rest in
Sarawak and Sabah as in FIGURE 1 and TABLE 1. However, the tide station located in
Miri, Sarawak was damaged since December 1998 due to an unforeseen accident.

Langkawi
Geting Kudat
Kota Kinabalu Sandakan
Penang
Cendering
Labuan Lahad Datu
Lumut Miri
Kuantan Bintulu Tawau
Port Klang
Tioman
Tg. keling K. Sedili Kuching
Kukup J. Bahru

FIGURE 1: The Location of Tidal Stations in Malaysia

The tide stations were evenly distributed along the coast and the locations selected to show
typical characteristics of tides of the adjacent sea. The stations were constructed on a rigid
shore or on a stable structure extended into the sea. An example of a tide gauge station is
shown in FIGURE 2.

The Geodesy Section, DSMM is responsible for the monitoring of the tide gauge stations,
which involves regular maintenance of the gauges as well as the collection, processing,
analysis and distribution of observed tidal data. The observed tidal data and other related
values are published annually in two reports, namely The Tidal Observation Record and The
Tidal Prediction Table.

To obtain reliable data, tides are observed systematically at all stations continuously over a
common period for many years. The tide gauges were well maintained by having regular
visits and servicing to ensure un-interruptible observations. The measurement of the zero

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point was also done during the monthly visit to ensure that the tidal height recorded on the
tide gauge is measured from a fixed reference point. The height differences between the tide
gauge base point, the standard tidal benchmark and other benchmarks were observed twice a
year by precise levelling. The levelling is useful to monitor any possible vertical movement of
the tidal observation platform.

Station Established Type Type / Date Replaced


Pen. Malaysia
1. Pulau Langkawi Nov. 1985 LTT-3AD DFT-1 / April 1998
2. Pulau Pinang Nov. 1984 LTT-3AD DFT-1 / April 1998
3. Lumut Nov. 1984 LTT-3AD DFT-1 / April 1998
4. P. Klang Dec. 1983 LTT-3AD DFT-1 / Oct 1993
5. Tanjung Keling Nov. 1984 LTT-3AD DFT-1 / May 1998
6. Kukup Nov. 1985 LTT-3AD DFT-1 / May 1998
7. Johor Bahru Dec. 1983 LTT-3AD DFT-1 / May 1998
8. Tanjung Sedili Oct. 1986 LTT-3AD DFT-1 / May 1998
9. Pulau Tioman Nov. 1985 LTT-3AD DFT-1 / May 1998
10. Tg. Gelang Dec. 1983 LTT-3AD DFT-1 / April 1998
11. Cendering Oct. 1984 LTT-3AD DFT-1 / April 1998
12. Geting Oct. 1986 LTT-3AD DFT-1 / April 1998
Sarawak/Sabah
13. Kuching Feb 1996 LTT-3AD DFT-1 / June 1998
14. Bintulu Aug 1992 LTT-3AD DFT-1 / Sept. 1993
15. Miri Jan 1993 LTT-3AD damaged since Dec. 1998
16. Labuan Dec 1995 DFT-1
17. Kota Kinabalu June 1987 LTT-3AD DFT-1 / June 1998
18. Kudat Oct 1995 DFT-1
19. Sandakan Aug. 1993 DFT-1
20. Lahad Datu Oct 1995 DFT-1
21. Tawau June 1987 LTT-3AD DFT-1 / Aug. 1993
TABLE 1: The Tide Gauges installed at Various Sites

FIGURE 2: An Example of a Tide Station.

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DSMM was also involved in the ASEAN-Australia Tides and Tidal Phenomena Project
(AATTP), implemented in 1985 for the purpose of improving regional cooperation in marine
science. The project aimed to obtain simultaneous observations of sea level time series in the
ASEAN region and to centralize all modern sea level data into a certified database.

Furthermore, the tidal stations at Lumut and Cendering were included in the network of
Global Sea Level Observing System (GLOSS) coordinated by the Intergovernmental
Oceanographic Commission (IOC). Data were also sent to the TOGA Sea Level Center at the
University of Hawaii, USA on a regular basis. In addition, data from all the 21 stations were
also sent to the Permanent Service for Mean Sea Level (PSMSL) in the United Kingdom and
the Joint Archive for Sea Level based at the University of Hawaii, USA.

6.3 Precise Levelling Project

In 1983, DSMM began to re-determine the precise MSL value in conjunction with the
establishment of the new Precise Levelling Network for Peninsular Malaysia. This was carried
out by the setting-up of a Tidal Observation Network that consists of 12 tidal stations.
Subsequently, Port Klang was selected as a reference level for the NGVD origin, based upon a
10-year tidal observation (1984-1993).

In 1994, a monument to signify the establishment of the NGVD was built within the DSMM
compound in Kuala Lumpur (FIGURE 3). Here, the Port Klang Datum was extended to the
new monument via precise levelling and gravity survey.

FIGURE 3: The New Vertical Datum Monument.

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6.4 Gravity Survey Project

Gravity surveys had been made along all precise levelling routes to provide orthometric
corrections to the levelling observations.

7. THE MALAYSIA ACTIVE GPS SYSTEM (MASS)

The Malaysia Active GPS System (MASS) enables DSMM to provide continuous GPS data
for users in Malaysia. The system consists of 15 permanent GPS tracking stations situated at
strategic locations in the country as shown in MAP 5. Two of the stations are located at the
tide gauge stations. All MASS stations are equipped with a dual frequency GPS receiver, a
geodetic or choke ring antenna, computers and modems as shown in FIGURE 4. The stations
track GPS data 24 hours a day, continuously. The data are stored and archived hourly and
downloaded every day to the GPS Data Processing Centre in Kuala Lumpur.

Arau MASS Station

FIGURE 4: MASS Monument and Equipment.

All MASS stations are connected to the processing centre in Kuala Lumpur via modems and
telephone lines. The processing centre is situated at the DSMM headquarters. Its function is
to monitor the 15 remote stations and to download the data on a daily basis and to provide
information to users. FIGURE 5 shows the system hardware configuration of the processing
centre in Kuala Lumpur.

Presently data from all MASS station is available free of charge by accessing through the
department’s web page http://www.jupem.gov.my.

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Two additional MASS stations have just been completed in December 2000 and will be
operational within a few months and will be part of the MASS networking covering Malaysia.

INTERNET
GPS DATA PROCESSING CENTRE
FTP
(GDPC)

DSMM Main Router


WEB
SERVER Server
DSMM - GEODESY DSMM FIBRE OPTIC
Switch NETWORK
Geodesy Web page Firewall
FTP
Password Access to Data
Directories

BACK-UP SERVER DSMM Webpage

PRIMARY DATA
SERVER

GEODESY'S Switch
Jukebox DAIL - UP
NETWORK MALAYSIA ACTIVE
Downloading GPS SYSTEM (MASS)
P200 Data files NETWORK

BERNESE Processing and other


UNIX Applications

FIGURE 5: The Data Processing Centre Configuration

8. MONITORING OF TIDE GAUGE DATUM

Absolute sea-level height at the related tide gauges need to be determined in order to maintain
the reliability of the sea level data. Connecting the existing tidal stations to a higher order
network of permanent GPS tracking stations could practically do this. Through this, the tide
gauge measurements could be directly referenced to the established global frame. The
systematic errors due to various relative land motions could be evaluated by continuously
comparing the height of the tide gauge station and the height of the permanent GPS station
nearby.

Two permanent GPS stations had been set-up at the tide gauge stations of Geting, Kelantan in
Peninsular Malaysia and Bintulu, Sarawak in East Malaysia for the study. Periodical GPS
campaigns will be made to connect the other tide gauges to the other permanent GPS stations.

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Through this study, absolute sea-level determination can be made and also to unify the height
datum of Peninsular Malaysia and East Malaysia (Sabah and Sarawak).

9. CONCLUSION

The Department of Survey and Mapping Malaysia will continue to give its support to GLOSS
and other institutions in the form of data contribution from all its stations for the purpose of
sea level study.

Department of Survey and Mapping Malaysia


January 2001
CountryReportMALAYSIAGLOSS7th

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G020

MAP 1: THE REPSOLD TRIANGULATION

12
SABAH

SOUTH CHINA SEA

SARAWAK

INDONESIA

MAP 2: BT68 TRIANGULATION NETWORK

13
P299 THAILAND
TG38
P298 S136
TG56
DOP5
P296
P304 P250 DOP4
P297 P249
TG35
P295 P243
6.00
P305 P242
K350 P293 P248 TG61
TG27 P244
P808 P239
TG28
P289 P306 P809 P247 P245
P290P292 P307 TG31
P309 P240 P238
P288 P291 P308 P225
P246 P241 P237
TG42 P236
P314 P287 P310
TG36 P232
P277 P224 P235 P234
P222
P283 P285 P286 T283
P311 P233
P282
TG33 P107P251
P276 P223 P231
P280 P313 P083 P106 P252
P281 P264 P230
P279 P221 P253
5.00 P275P272 P271 P265
P263 P220
P278 TG26 P273 P105
P274 P267 P254 P229
P270
P214
P268 P500
L P209 P204 TG58
P213
TG57
P255 P256
P205 P351 P228
A P203 TG59 P219
P102 P212
P352 P261 P257
T P207 P269 P218 P227
P202 P216 P258 P226
I S290
P211P210 P217
P215 P260
P101
T P201 P259
GP28 GP81
U GP02 T200
GP07 GP26 GP27 TG13
TG24
D 4.0 GP82
TG25 GP79 TG14
T190 GP34
E G003
GP04
GP29 GP30
GP45 GP31 GP32 GP35
251.00 GP33
GP94
GP05 TG18 GP25
GP24 GP22 GP80 GP36 GP37
GP06 DOP3
GP86 TG15
GP23 GP95
GP17 GP88 GP99 GP38
149B GP87 GP21
GP08 TG11
DOP1 G100
GP19 GP40
3.0 GP20 GP98
GP39
TG06
TG01
GP18 GP09 GP89
GP10 TG20 GP41 GP42
TG05
GP14 GP43

GP44 TG09
GP11 GP12 GP13
TG04 GP47 GP57 GP56

M331
TG03 GP61
GP16 GP58
GP15 GP55
GP48 GP59
2.0 GP85 GP60 GP91
GP90
GP54
GP84 13DJ GP53

TG07
GP49 GP51
GP50
TG19 J416 TG10
DOP2 GP52
TD01
SINGAPORE

100.0 101.0 102.0 103.0 104.0

LONGITUDE

MAP 3: PENINSULAR MALAYSIA GPS NETWORK

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EAST MALAYSIA GPS NETWORK

21
T1
7.0

0 2
A1
D006 T122
M204

3
20
M
T1
T120 23
M 20
2
D M2
T119 00 01
5

M104
T118

T117
M103 M 1
30

T116
1 31

02
M
6.0 2

M1
7 31

24
A101 30 M

T1
M 1 0
T114 T1
13 M3

25
T1
M 5

5
T115

M
10 30

31
T1

10

6
T003 5

4
12 M T1 27

31

42
1

M
28
30
T1

9
10

41
M

T1
T1

01
3

T1

17
31

M
11

T0

2
D001
L 2

30

M3
4
M 7 42 M423
SOUTH CHINA SEA

02

30
41

M
T004
M501

16
M

4
M

31

M4
50

8
M
M

41
3

H
A

30
4

M
50 M415

M
M51
I

BA
5.0

6
M M421

40
NE

02

M
0

T1
M413
T 05 M420

T1
M5

SA
U

M414
09
T104
06

BR

M5

4
M5

M4
40
M411

T006

02
I M 50 8

12
M4 01 M4

M511
1

T1
510
05

08
T1

09
M4 08

03

M4
T T0
T0
05
50
7
M509 M403 M410
T107
01 M
U D002
T0
07 M402 M
40
7
D004
T106

D 4.0 T010 4122


T0
08
4044
E 4242

T009
8045
8047 4118
4119
4 12
T0 12 7
T043

8048

3.0 3074
8028 T042

T0 15 3046 4120 4114


T041
16
T0

T014
3032 T013
0
301

3021
T017
SA RA W AK T038
T040 7079

7083
6008

T0 18
T04 T039
0 5
2.0 T036
T021
T0 2
604
7 D0
03
T037
T019

1009
INDONESIA
T022

7080
7086 708 5 7082
T035

6052
1019 7084
T030
0
T0

T032 0
22
34

1
2 01

T031
R027 15
8 20
T029 203
T0 2
5
J01
1.0 9900
T026
2005

110.0 111.0 112.0 113.0 114.0 115.0 116.0 117.0 118.0 119.0
LONGITUDE

MAP 4: GPS NETWORK in Sabah and Sarawak

15
Arau
Geting
Kota Kinabalu Sandakan
Penang Kuala
Terengganu Labuan
Ipoh
Miri
Kuala Lumpur Kuantan Bintulu Tawau

Sekudai Kuching

MAP 5: MASS Station Distribution in Malaysia

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