Airborne Gravimetry, Altimetry, and GPS Navigation Errors

  • Oscar L. Colombo
Part of the International Association of Geodesy Symposia book series (IAG SYMPOSIA, volume 110)


Proper interpretation of airborne gravimetry and altimetry requires good knowledge of aircraft trajectory. Recent advances in precise navigation with differential GPS have made it possible to measure gravity from the air with accuracies of a few milligals, and to obtain altimeter profiles of terrain or sea surface correct to one decimeter. These developments are opening otherwise inaccessible regions to detailed geophysical mapping. Navigation with GPS presents some problems that grow worse with increasing distance from a fixed receiver: the effect of errors in tropospheric refraction correction, GPS ephemerides, and the coordinates of the fixed receivers. Ionospheric refraction and orbit error complicate ambiguity resolution. Optimal navigation should treat all error sources as unknowns, together with the instantaneous vehicle position. To do so, fast and reliable numerical techniques are needed: efficient and stable Kalman filter-smoother algorithms, together with data compression and, sometimes, the use of simplified dynamics.


Global Position System Carrier Phase Global Position System Receiver Double Difference Global Position System Orbit 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag New York, Inc. 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • Oscar L. Colombo
    • 1
  1. 1.University of Maryland/NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (926)GreenbeltUSA

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