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GE 161 – Geometric Geodesy

Introduction to Geodesy: Concepts in Geodesy

The
The Geoid
Geoid and
and the
the Height
Height
Systems
Systems
Lecture No. 5

Department of Geodetic Engineering


University of the Philippines

a.s. caparas/06

The True Shape of the Earth

• Recall the three surfaces


in geodesy.

• Since the topographic


surface is highly dynamic
and irregular, the sphere
and the ellipsoid are used
as 1st and 2nd
approximation for its
shape.

• However, it is the geoid Cartoon showing the ellipsoid, geoid, and topographic
surface (the landmass topography as well as the ocean
which gives the closest fit bathymetry).

of the true shape of the


earth. Concepts in Geodesy:
Lecture 5 GE 161 – Geometric Geodesy The Geoid and the Height
Systems

1
The
The Geoid
Geoid and
and the
the Equipotential
Equipotential
Surfaces
Surfaces
• The geoid is a surface of constant potential
energy (equipotential surface) that coincides
with mean sea level over the oceans.

• there are an infinite number of equipotential


surfaces corresponding to different potential
energy.

• for convenience, geodesists have commonly


agreed to use a reference equipotential surface,
and that is the geoid.
Concepts in Geodesy:
Lecture 5 GE 161 – Geometric Geodesy The Geoid and the Height
Systems

What
What is
is so
so important
important with
with the
the Geoid?
Geoid?
• recall that a level surface is said to be
“horizontal” everywhere and is perpendicular to
the plumb line, which is the vertical line that
passes through the center of an optical
instrument when it is leveled

• an equipotential surface shares the same


geodetic significance of the horizontal and the
plumb line with the level surface which is why so
much attention is paid to it in geodesy.

Concepts in Geodesy:
Lecture 5 GE 161 – Geometric Geodesy The Geoid and the Height
Systems

2
The Geoid and the Height Systems
• The coordinates of the position of a point on the surface
(topographic/terrestrial) of the earth is composed of the
horizontal (φ,λ) and the vertical (height).

• However, the height of a point can be referred from the


ellipsoid (ellipsoidal height, h), or from the geoid (orthometric
height, H).

• But since the point of interest is on the topographic surface


and the geoid is a closer approximation to this surface than
the ellipsoid, then the vertical position of the point must be
referred from the geoid.

• Therefore it is essential the geoid surface be considered as


reference for heights.

Concepts in Geodesy:
Lecture 5 GE 161 – Geometric Geodesy The Geoid and the Height
Systems

Geoid Modeling
• The normal and the abnormal/anomalous gravity field of the
earth.
W (x,y,z) = U (x,y,z) + T (x,y,z)
“actual gravity field” “normal gravity field” “disturbing/anomalous
gravity field”

• The actual surface of the geoid cannot be observed because


of this sole reason.

• The only way to generate a geoid surface that will be used as


reference is to model the normal and the anomalous gravity
field accounting factors that causes the disturbing gravity field.

• There several methods for modeling the geoid using different


techniques from gravity measurement to surface generation.

Concepts in Geodesy:
Lecture 5 GE 161 – Geometric Geodesy The Geoid and the Height
Systems

3
Geoid Models
• The EGM96

The 15’ x15’ global geoid undulations produced by EGM96 (Lemoine et al., 1998). The undulations range from 107 m to 85 m. Black lines
indicate coast lines.
Concepts in Geodesy:
Lecture 5 GE 161 – Geometric Geodesy The Geoid and the Height
Systems

Geoid Models
• The GPM98

Southern Europe
Concepts in Geodesy:
Lecture 5 GE 161 – Geometric Geodesy The Geoid and the Height
Systems

4
Geoid Models
• The AusGeoid98

Concepts in Geodesy:
Lecture 5 GE 161 – Geometric Geodesy The Geoid and the Height
Systems

Geoid Models

The OSU 89A The Philippine Geoid


Concepts in Geodesy:
Lecture 5 GE 161 – Geometric Geodesy The Geoid and the Height
Systems