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# GE 161 – Geometric Geodesy

## Introduction to Geodesy: General Concepts

Definitions,
Definitions, Branches,
Branches, Objectives,
Objectives,
Professions
Professions and
and Organizations,
Organizations,
History
History and
and Development
Development
Lecture No. 2

## Department of Geodetic Engineering

University of the Philippines

a.s. caparas/06

Geodesy...
Geodesy... the
the oldest
oldest among
among the
the earth
earth science
science

## • dating back to the Sumarians 5000 years

ago when man first became interested
with his surroundings.
• it all started with the concern of what is
“my house’s immediate vicinity”
• later it expanded to the distances of
markets and exchange places
• and with the development means of
transportation, man became interested in
his “whole world”. General Concepts: Definitions, Branches,
Lecture 2 GE 161 – Geometric Geodesy Objectives, Professions and Organizations,
History and Development:

1
Definitions of Geodesy
• Geodesy came from the Greek words
“geo” ad “desa” means…. “earth” and “ to
divide”.
• Webster defines geodesy as..
“that branch of applied mathematics which
determines by observation and measurement the
exact positions points and the figure and areas of
large portion of the earth’s surface, the size and
shape of the earth, and the variations in the
terrestrial gravity”

## General Concepts: Definitions, Branches,

Lecture 2 GE 161 – Geometric Geodesy Objectives, Professions and Organizations,
History and Development:

Definitions of Geodesy

## • The classical definition of geodesy is…

“the science of measuring and portraying the Earth’s
surface” (F. R. Helmert, 1880)

## • The contemporary definition of geodesy

is…
“the discipline that deals with the measurement and
representation of the Earth’s surface, including its gravity
field, in a three-dimensional time varying space”
-(Vanicek & Krakiwsky, 1986)
General Concepts: Definitions, Branches,
Lecture 2 GE 161 – Geometric Geodesy Objectives, Professions and Organizations,
History and Development:

2
Concepts of Geodesy
• All the definitions of geodesy will include three
general ideas or concepts:
…. the size and shape of the earth
…. the gravity field of the earth
…. the positioning of points on the
surface of the earth
• In its modern definition it also include
measurement and modeling of the geodynamic
phenomena such as polar motion, Earth
rotation and crustal deformation
General Concepts: Definitions, Branches,
Lecture 2 GE 161 – Geometric Geodesy Objectives, Professions and Organizations,
History and Development:

Geodesy
Geodesy and
and the
the other
other earth
earth sciences
sciences

## General Concepts: Definitions, Branches,

Lecture 2 GE 161 – Geometric Geodesy Objectives, Professions and Organizations,
History and Development:

3
Branches of Geodesy

PHYSICAL GEOMETRIC
GEODESY GEODESY

GEODESY

GEODETIC SATELLITE
ASTRONOMY GEODESY

## General Concepts: Definitions, Branches,

Lecture 2 GE 161 – Geometric Geodesy Objectives, Professions and Organizations,
History and Development:

Practice
Practice and
and Profession
Profession of
of Geodesy
Geodesy
• Universities and Government Institutions
Æ STUDY AND RESEARCH

• Private Institutions/Practitioners
Æ APPLICATIONS

## General Concepts: Definitions, Branches,

Lecture 2 GE 161 – Geometric Geodesy Objectives, Professions and Organizations,
History and Development:

4
In the Philippines…
• University of the Philippines - Training
Center for Applied Geodesy and
Photogrammetry (UP TCAGP)

## • Coast and Geodetic Survey Department

(CGSD) – National Mapping and Resource
Information Authority (NAMRIA)

## General Concepts: Definitions, Branches,

Lecture 2 GE 161 – Geometric Geodesy Objectives, Professions and Organizations,
History and Development:

The Professionals…
1. Theoretical geodesist – Ph. D. or
Master’s in Geodesy, Mathematics or
Geophysics

## 2. Applied Geodesist – Geodetic/Geomatics

Engineers

3. Survey Technician

## General Concepts: Definitions, Branches,

Lecture 2 GE 161 – Geometric Geodesy Objectives, Professions and Organizations,
History and Development:

5
The Geodetic Community

IUGG

IAG

## IGB IERS IGS

General Concepts: Definitions, Branches,
Lecture 2 GE 161 – Geometric Geodesy Objectives, Professions and Organizations,
History and Development:

The
The Story
Story of
of Earth’s
Earth’s Size
Size and
and Shape…
Shape… the
the
mother
mother of
of Geometric
Geometric Geodesy
Geodesy
It was the shape that comes first….
• began with the Greeks (Homer)
theorizing the earth as a “flat disc”
• then Anaximander a.k.a.
Anaximenes thought the earth as
a rectangular object
• Next was the view of earth as
sphere but exactly when the
notion of a spherically shaped
earth first came into existence is
not known.
• However, recorded history reveals
that as early as the sixth century
B.C., a Greek philosopher by the
name of Pythagoras believed the
earth was not flat but round.
General Concepts: Definitions, Branches,
Lecture 2 GE 161 – Geometric Geodesy Objectives, Professions and Organizations,
History and Development:

6
The
The Story
Story of
of Earth’s
Earth’s Size
Size and
and Shape…
Shape… the
the
mother
mother of
of Geometric
Geometric Geodesy
Geodesy
• Three centuries later,
Aristotle (384-322 B.C.)
considered the idea of a
round earth as he
studied the movement of
planets.
• From his observations,
particularly those of
lunar eclipses, he
concluded that the earth
was indeed spherical in
shape. General Concepts: Definitions, Branches,
Lecture 2 GE 161 – Geometric Geodesy Objectives, Professions and Organizations,
History and Development:

The
The Story
Story of
of Earth’s
Earth’s Size
Size and
and Shape…
Shape… the
the
mother
mother of
of Geometric
Geometric Geodesy
Geodesy
after the shape, the size came in…..
• the first approximation of the
earth’s circumference was
proposed by Plato at 40,000 miles
• then Archimedes approximate it at
30,000 miles
• Meanwhile around 250 B.C., in
Egypt, a Greek scholar and
philosopher, Erathosthenes, set
out for a more explicit
measurement of the size of the
earth
General Concepts: Definitions, Branches,
Lecture 2 GE 161 – Geometric Geodesy Objectives, Professions and Organizations,
History and Development:

7
The
The Story
Story of
of Earth’s
Earth’s Size
Size and
and Shape…
Shape… the
the
mother
mother of
of Geometric
Geometric Geodesy
Geodesy
• Eratosthenes developed
a simple method for
calculating the earth’s
circumference.
• Using a knowledge of
the sun’s position
relative to the earth and
some principles of
geometry, he calculated
the earth’s equatorial
circumference to be
25,000 miles.
General Concepts: Definitions, Branches,
Lecture 2 GE 161 – Geometric Geodesy Objectives, Professions and Organizations,
History and Development:

The
The Story
Story of
of Earth’s
Earth’s Size
Size and
and Shape…
Shape… the
the
mother
mother of
of Geometric
Geometric Geodesy
Geodesy
but the search for better
figure that defines the
shape of the earth
continues….
• In the 17th century, the
theory that earth is not a
perfect sphere arises.
• However, these resulted
to an intense controversy
between the French and
the English
• The English claimed that
the earth must be
flattened but the French
defended their claim for
an egg-shape earth
General Concepts: Definitions, Branches,
Lecture 2 GE 161 – Geometric Geodesy Objectives, Professions and Organizations,
History and Development:

8
The
The Story
Story of
of Earth’s
Earth’s Size
Size and
and Shape…
Shape… the
the
mother
mother of
of Geometric
Geometric Geodesy
Geodesy
• To settle the issue the French
sent out an expedition to confirm
the correctness of the claims.
• The measurements of the
expedition in Peru conclusively
proved the earth to be flattened.

## But the story does not end there…

• The pear-shaped earth was
introduced in view of the
gravitational influence on the
surface
• And lastly, the potato-shaped
earth was introduced to consider
the uneven distribution of masses
on the surface of the earth
General Concepts: Definitions, Branches,
Lecture 2 GE 161 – Geometric Geodesy Objectives, Professions and Organizations,
History and Development:

References:
• National Oceanic and Atmospheric
Administration (1985), Geodesy for the Layman
Fifth Edition (online), US Department of
Commerce.
• Rockville, Md (1973), Basic Geodesy (online),
US Department of Defense, Defense Mapping
School, reprint by NOAA US Department of
Commerce (1977)\
• Vanicek, Ptr (2001), An Online Tutorial on

## General Concepts: Definitions, Branches,

Lecture 2 GE 161 – Geometric Geodesy Objectives, Professions and Organizations,
History and Development:

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