Enhanced Geopotential Field Modelling as Basis for the Establishment of Precise Height Systems (Geo-H)

In February 2015, the United Nations General Assembly adopted its first geospatial resolution „A Global Geodetic Reference Frame (GGRF) for Sustainable Development“. The implementation of an integrated GGRF that supports the coherent determination and monitoring of the Earth’s geometry, rotation, and gravity field changes with high accuracy worldwide, as defined by the International Association of Geodesy (IAG), is one of the current challenges of Geodesy. DGFI-TUM has been involved in this endeavor through participation in the relevant international bodies and research projects.

The DFG-Project Geo-H aims at developing the methodological foundation for the realization of modern geopotential-based height systems in agreement with the definitions of a global International Height Reference System (IHRS) as a main requirement to advance towards the GGRF.

Based on their expertise in the field of high-resolution gravity field modeling, the two project partners DGFI-TUM and IAPG (Institute of Astronomical and Physical Geodesy, TUM) aim to:

  • quantify with high reliability the error budget of the physical height determination;
  • develop new concepts and methods towards improved geopotential solutions and their accuracy assessment;
  • provide scientific guidelines and roadmaps for the realization of globally consistent geopotential-based height systems.

The project is built on three cornerstones:

  1. Error budget analysis in the validation of regional geopotential (geoid) models and the identification/reduction of systematic errors associated to different gravity field modelling methods
  2. Improvement of stochastic models, spectral combination and optimal weighting of gravity data of different resolutions to implement rigorous error propagation analyses in the determination of geopotential (geoid) models
  3. Compilation of a scientific concept for the establishment, maintenance, and long-term sustainability of geopotential-based height systems, with emphasis in the establishment of the global IHRS.

Methodologies, developments and findings of Geo-H will be placed on international level as baseline methods, to be used as guidelines for science and administration in the realization of the IHRS, and more general, in the realization of geopotential-based height systems.


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