Ordnance Datum

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Definition of Ordnance Datum (OD):
An Ordnance Datum or OD is a vertical datum used by an ordnance survey as the basis for deriving bathymetric levels on charts. A spot height may be expressed as AOD for "above ordnance datum" or BOD for "below ordnance datum". Often, mean sea level (MSL) is used for the datum.[1].
This is the common definition for Ordnance Datum (OD), other definitions can be discussed in the article


  • In Great Britain, OD for the Ordnance Survey is ODN (Ordnance Datum Newlyn), defined as the MSL at Newlyn in Cornwall between 1915 and 1921. Prior to 1921, OD was taken from the level of the Victoria Dock, Liverpool.
  • In Northern Ireland, OD for the Ordnance Survey of Northern Ireland is Belfast Ordnance Datum, the MSL at Clarendon Lock, Belfast between 1951 and 1956.
  • In the Republic of Ireland, OD for the Ordnance Survey of Ireland is Malin Ordnance Datum: the MSL at Portmoor Pier, Malin Head, County Donegal, between 1960 and 1969[1].

Prior to 1970, Poolbeg Ordnance Datum was used: the low water of spring tide at Poolbeg lighthouse, Dublin, on 8 April 1837. Poolbeg OD was about 2.7 m lower than Malin OD[1].


See also

  1. Chart datum
  2. Bathymetry