The definition of a common global vertical coordinate system is nowadays one of the key points in Geodesy. With the advent of GNSS, a coherent global height has been made available to users. The ellipsoidal height can be obtained with respect to a given geocentric ellipsoid in a fast and precise way using GNSS techniques. On the other hand, the traditional orthometric height is not coherent at global scale. Spirit levelling allows the estimation of height increments so that orthometric heights of surveyed points can be obtained starting from a benchmark of known orthometric heights. As it is well known, this vertical coordinate refers to the geoid, which is assumed to be coincident to the mean sea level. By means of a tide gauge, the mean sea level is estimated and thus a point of known orthometric height is defined. This assumption, which was acceptable in the past, became obsolete given the level of precision which is now required. Based on the altimetry observation, one can precisely quantify the existing discrepancy between geoid and mean sea level that can amount to 1 ÷ 2 m at global scale. Therefore, different tide gauges provide biased estimates of the geoid, given the discrepancy between this equipotential surface and the mean sea level. Also, in the last years, another vertical coordinate was used, the normal height that was introduced in the context of the Molodensky theory. In this paper, a review of the existing different height systems is given and the relationships among them are revised. Furthermore, an approach for unifying normal height referring to different tide gauges is presented and applied to the Italian test case. Finally, a method for defining a physical height system that is globally coherent is discussed in the context of the definition of the International Height Reference System/Frame, a project supported by the Global Geodetic Observing System of the International Association of Geodesy (IAG). This project was established in 2015 during the XXVI IAG General Assembly in Prague as described in IAG Resolution no. 1 that was presented and adopted there.

The worldwide physical height datum project

Barzaghi R.;De Gaetani C. I.;Betti B.
2020

Abstract

The definition of a common global vertical coordinate system is nowadays one of the key points in Geodesy. With the advent of GNSS, a coherent global height has been made available to users. The ellipsoidal height can be obtained with respect to a given geocentric ellipsoid in a fast and precise way using GNSS techniques. On the other hand, the traditional orthometric height is not coherent at global scale. Spirit levelling allows the estimation of height increments so that orthometric heights of surveyed points can be obtained starting from a benchmark of known orthometric heights. As it is well known, this vertical coordinate refers to the geoid, which is assumed to be coincident to the mean sea level. By means of a tide gauge, the mean sea level is estimated and thus a point of known orthometric height is defined. This assumption, which was acceptable in the past, became obsolete given the level of precision which is now required. Based on the altimetry observation, one can precisely quantify the existing discrepancy between geoid and mean sea level that can amount to 1 ÷ 2 m at global scale. Therefore, different tide gauges provide biased estimates of the geoid, given the discrepancy between this equipotential surface and the mean sea level. Also, in the last years, another vertical coordinate was used, the normal height that was introduced in the context of the Molodensky theory. In this paper, a review of the existing different height systems is given and the relationships among them are revised. Furthermore, an approach for unifying normal height referring to different tide gauges is presented and applied to the Italian test case. Finally, a method for defining a physical height system that is globally coherent is discussed in the context of the definition of the International Height Reference System/Frame, a project supported by the Global Geodetic Observing System of the International Association of Geodesy (IAG). This project was established in 2015 during the XXVI IAG General Assembly in Prague as described in IAG Resolution no. 1 that was presented and adopted there.
Geoid
Geopotential
GOCE
Height systems
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11311/1147007
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