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# GE 161 – Geometric Geodesy

## The Reference Ellipsoid and the Computation of the Geodetic Position:

Position:
Properties of the Ellipsoid

of Curvature
Curvature on the Ellipsoid
and
of Spherical
Spherical
Approximation
Approximation of of the
the Earth
Earth

Lecture No. 8

## Department of Geodetic Engineering

University of the Philippines

a.s. caparas/06

## Normal Sections on the Ellipsoid

• Consider first a normal to the
surface of the ellipsoid at some
point.
• A particular plane will cut the
surface of the ellipsoid forming
a curve which is known as the
normal section.
• At each point there exist an
infinite number of normal
section as there exist an
infinite number planes that that
contain the normal line.
• However, at each point, there
exist two mutually
perpendicular normal sections
whose curvature will be
maximum and minimum.
• These normal sections is
called the principal normal
sections.
The Reference Ellipsoid and the
Lecture 8 GE 161 – Geometric Geodesy Computation of the Geodetic Position:
Properties of the Ellipsoid

1
Principal Normal Sections
On the ellipsoid the two
principal normal sections Meridional Normal
Section
are:
1.The Meridian or
Meridional Normal
Section – a plane passing
through the point and the
two poles.
2.The Prime Vertical
Normal Section – a plane
passing through the point Prime Vertical
and perpendicular to the Normal Section

## meridian at that point.

The Reference Ellipsoid and the
Lecture 8 GE 161 – Geometric Geodesy Computation of the Geodetic Position:
Properties of the Ellipsoid

## Radii of Curvature of a Normal

Sections
In order to find the radius of curvature of any normal section at any
arbitrary direction, we may utilize the Euler’s formula:

1 cos2 θ sin2 θ
= +
ρ ρ1 ρ2
where:
ρ= is the radius of curvature of the section (any arbitrary section)
θ= is the angle measured from the meridian of the point
ρ1=is the radius of curvature of the principal normal section with the
maximum curvature
ρ2=is the radius of curvature of the principal normal section with the
manimum curvature

## The Reference Ellipsoid and the

Lecture 8 GE 161 – Geometric Geodesy Computation of the Geodetic Position:
Properties of the Ellipsoid

2
Radius of Curvature of the Principal
Normal Sections
• Meridional Radius of Curvature, M:

a (1 − e 2 )
M= 3
(1 − e 2 sin 2 ϕ) 2

at the equator:
Mϕ=0 = a(1− e2 ) = a(1− f )2
at the poles:
a (1 − e 2 ) a a
M ϕ=90 = = =
3 1
(1 − f )
(1 − e )
2 2
(1 − e )2 2

## The Reference Ellipsoid and the

Lecture 8 GE 161 – Geometric Geodesy Computation of the Geodetic Position:
Properties of the Ellipsoid

## Radius of Curvature of the Principal

Normal Sections
• If the values of the M
were tabulated, they
could be plotted with
respect to an origin at the
surface of the reference
ellipsoid.
• The endpoints of the
various M values would
fall on a curve known as ∆2
∆1
the locus of the centers of locus of the centers
of the curvature of
the meridional radius of the meridian
curvature.

## The Reference Ellipsoid and the

Lecture 8 GE 161 – Geometric Geodesy Computation of the Geodetic Position:
Properties of the Ellipsoid

3
Radius of Curvature of the Principal
Normal Sections
• Prime Vertical
p=Ncosφ
a
N= 1 φ

(1− e sin ϕ)
2 2 2

At the equator:
Nφ=0=a
At the poles:
a p
N ϕ=90 =
(1 − f )
The Reference Ellipsoid and the
Lecture 8 GE 161 – Geometric Geodesy Computation of the Geodetic Position:
Properties of the Ellipsoid

Comparing M and N…
• We can see that M and N are minimum at
points on the equator.
• At the poles M and N are equal with value
equal to a/(1-f).
• If we take the ration of M and N, we will
find that: N (1− e2 sin2 ϕ)
=
M (1− e2 )
• Thus, N≥M where equality holds at the
poles.
The Reference Ellipsoid and the
Lecture 8 GE 161 – Geometric Geodesy Computation of the Geodetic Position:
Properties of the Ellipsoid

4
Radius of Curvature of the normal
section at any given azimuth
• using Euler’s formula we can determine
the radius of curvature letting θ=α=azimuth
of the normal section from the north, ρ1=N and
ρ2=M by:
1 sin2 α cos2 α
= +
Rα N M

MN
Rα =
N cos α + M sin2 α
2

## The Reference Ellipsoid and the

Lecture 8 GE 161 – Geometric Geodesy Computation of the Geodetic Position:
Properties of the Ellipsoid

## Gaussian Mean Radius of Curvature of

Normal Sections at a point
• The Gaussian Mean Radius R of all the
radii of curvature of all the normal section
containing the normal line is given by:

R = MN
a sphere that is to approximate the
ellipsoid is required.

## The Reference Ellipsoid and the

Lecture 8 GE 161 – Geometric Geodesy Computation of the Geodetic Position:
Properties of the Ellipsoid

5
Example Problem
Solving for N:
a
Problem: N= 1

## Compute for the radii of curvature of (1 − e 2 sin 2 ϕ) 2

the two principal normal sections 6378206
N=
and the Gaussian Mean radius of 1

## curvature at the point whose (1 − 0.006768628177 sin 2 45o ) 2

geodetic latitude is 45°N on the N = 6,389,026.399 m
Clarke Spheroid of 1866.

## Solution: Solving for M:

a(1 − e 2 )
Given: M= 3

φ=45°N (1 − e 2 sin 2 ϕ ) 2
f=1/294.98 6378206 (1 − 0.0067686281 77 )
M= 3
a=6,378,206 m (1 − 0.0067862817 7 sin 2 45 o ) 2
e2=0.006768628177
Find: N, M, and R
M = 6,367,330.501 m
Solving for R:
R = MN = (6367330.501)(6389026.399

R = 6,378,169.225 m
The Reference Ellipsoid and the
Lecture 8 GE 161 – Geometric Geodesy Computation of the Geodetic Position:
Properties of the Ellipsoid

Earth as a Sphere
• Since the computation of some quantities on the
surface of the ellipsoid is sometimes too
complex to handle, geodesists uses the sphere
as a model.
• This reduces the complexity of deriving formulas
and evaluating quantities.
• In order for us to use a sphere as a reference
model, we need to find a sphere which is
equivalent to the reference ellipsoid that we are
using

## The Reference Ellipsoid and the

Lecture 8 GE 161 – Geometric Geodesy Computation of the Geodetic Position:
Properties of the Ellipsoid

6
Earth as a Sphere
• There are several way of finding a sphere
equivalent to the reference ellipsoid:
1. Equal surface area
2. Equal volume
- Gaussian
- Mean of the three semi-axes

## The Reference Ellipsoid and the

Lecture 8 GE 161 – Geometric Geodesy Computation of the Geodetic Position:
Properties of the Ellipsoid

Earth as a Sphere

## A suitable radius may be defined by equating

the expressions of the quantities being
compared:
1. Spherical radius having the same area s the ellipsoid

 1 17 4 67 6 
R A = a 1 − e2 − e − e ....
 6 360 3024 
2. Spherical radius having the same Volume as the
ellipsoid

R v = 3 a 2b
The Reference Ellipsoid and the
Lecture 8 GE 161 – Geometric Geodesy Computation of the Geodetic Position:
Properties of the Ellipsoid

7
Earth as a Sphere

the three semi-axes of the ellipsoid

(a + a + b)
Rm =
3
sphere

R= MN
The Reference Ellipsoid and the
Lecture 8 GE 161 – Geometric Geodesy Computation of the Geodetic Position:
Properties of the Ellipsoid

Example Problem
Problem:
Solving for Rm:
What are the radii of the (a + a + b )
equivalent spheres of the Rm =
3
Clarke Spheroid of 1866. Rm =
(6378206 + 6378206 + 6356583.497)
3
Solution: R m = 6,370,998.499 m
Given: Solving for RA:
 1 17 4 67 6 
f=1/294.98 R A = a 1 − e 2 − e − e ....
 6 360 3024 
a=6,378,206 m R A = 6,370,996.873 m
e2=0.006768628177
Solving for Rv:
Find: Rm, RA, and RV R v = 3 a 2 b = 3 (6378206) 2 (6356583.497)
R v = 6,370,990.339 m
The Reference Ellipsoid and the
Lecture 8 GE 161 – Geometric Geodesy Computation of the Geodetic Position:
Properties of the Ellipsoid

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