The gravity field of the earth is a natural element of the Global Geodetic Observing System (GGOS). Gravity field quantities are like spatial geodetic observations of potential very high accuracy, with measurements, currently at part-per-billion (ppb) accuracy, but gravity field quantities are also unique as they can be globally represented by harmonic functions (long-wavelength geopotential model primarily from satellite gravity field missions), or based on point sampling (airborne and in situ absolute and superconducting gravimetry). From a GGOS global perspective, one of the main challenges is to ensure the consistency of the global and regional geopotential and geoid models, and the temporal changes of the gravity field at large spatial scales. The International Gravity Field Service, an umbrella "level-2" IAG service (incorporating the International Gravity Bureau, International Geoid Service, International Center for Earth Tides, International Center for Global Earth models, and other future new services for, e.g., digital terrain models), would be a natural key element contributing to GGOS. Major parts of the work of the services would, however, remain complementary to the GGOS contributions, which focus on the long-wavelength components of the geopotential and its temporal variations, the consistent procedures for regional data processing in a unified vertical datum and Terrestrial Reference Frame, and the ensuring validations of long-wavelength gravity field data products.
Journal of Geodynamics, 2005, Vol 40, Issue 4-5, p. 387-393
gravity field; satellite gravity; gravity measurement; reference systems