Australia Is Not Quite Where You Think It Is
The continent has shifted by 4.9 feet since the last adjustment was made to GPS coordinates in 1994.
All of the Earth’s continents float on tectonic plates, which glide slowly over a plastic-like layer of the upper mantle. And the plate that Australia sits on has been moving relatively fast, about 2.7 inches a year (northward and with a slight clockwise rotation).
This type of shifting is coming more into focus as GPS systems get more accurate. The most advanced technology can now pinpoint a location to a matter of inches. Although most consumer cellphones don’t have that level of accuracy (yet), the technology is being used in other ways, including by farmers who spray fields with precision agriculture and self-driving vehicles.