Research paper information:
Title: The combination of GNSS-levelling data and gravimetric (quasi-) geoid heights in the presence of noise
Authors: Klees, R., Prutkin, I.
Resource Files: /papers2/6f7daece-8b0a-42f1-9941-7d886d23ed39/
Source URL: http://www.narcis.nl/publication/RecordID/oai:tudelft.nl:uuid:0e2fb364-8452-4c33-9bcc-b9ec7b819c91
Abstract: We propose a methodology for the combination of a gravimetric (quasi-) geoid with GNSS-levelling data in the presence of noise with correlations and/or spatially varying noise variances. It comprises two steps: first, a gravimetric (quasi-) geoid is computed using the available gravity data, which, in a second step, is improved using ellipsoidal heights at benchmarks provided by GNSS once they have become available. The methodology is an alternative to the integrated processing of all available data using least-squares techniques or least-squares collocation. Unlike the corrector-surface approach, the pursued approach guarantees that the corrections applied to the gravimetric (quasi-) geoid are consistent with the gravity anomaly data set. The methodology is applied to a data set comprising 109 gravimetric quasi-geoid heights, ellipsoidal heights and normal heights at benchmarks in Switzerland. Each data set is complemented by a full noise covariance matrix. We show that when neglecting noise correlations and/or spatially varying noise variances, errors up to 10% of the differences between geometric and gravimetric quasi-geoid heights are introduced. This suggests that if high-quality ellipsoidal heights at benchmarks are available and are used to compute an improved (quasi-) geoid, noise covariance matrices referring to the same datum should be used in the data processing whenever they are available. We compare the methodology with the corrector-surface approach using various corrector surface models. We show that the commonly used corrector surfaces fail to model the more complicated spatial patterns of differences between geometric and gravimetric quasi-geoid heights present in the data set. More flexible parametric models such as radial basis function approximations or minimum-curvature harmonic splines perform better. We also compare the proposed method with generalized least-squares collocation, which comprises a deterministic trend model, a random signal component and a random correlated noise component. Trend model parameters and signal covariance function parameters are estimated iteratively from the data using non-linear least-squares techniques. We show that the performance of generalized least-squares collocation is better than the performance of corrector surfaces, but the differences with respect to the proposed method are still significant.