, Volume 79, Issue 9, pp 512-523

Global height datum unification: a new approach in gravity potential space

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The problem of “global height datum unification” is solved in the gravity potential space based on: (1) high-resolution local gravity field modeling, (2) geocentric coordinates of the reference benchmark, and (3) a known value of the geoid’s potential. The high-resolution local gravity field model is derived based on a solution of the fixed-free two-boundary-value problem of the Earth’s gravity field using (a) potential difference values (from precise leveling), (b) modulus of the gravity vector (from gravimetry), (c) astronomical longitude and latitude (from geodetic astronomy and/or combination of (GNSS) Global Navigation Satellite System observations with total station measurements), (d) and satellite altimetry. Knowing the height of the reference benchmark in the national height system and its geocentric GNSS coordinates, and using the derived high-resolution local gravity field model, the gravity potential value of the zero point of the height system is computed. The difference between the derived gravity potential value of the zero point of the height system and the geoid’s potential value is computed. This potential difference gives the offset of the zero point of the height system from geoid in the “potential space”, which is transferred into “geometry space” using the transformation formula derived in this paper. The method was applied to the computation of the offset of the zero point of the Iranian height datum from the geoid’s potential value W 0=62636855.8 m2/s2. According to the geometry space computations, the height datum of Iran is 0.09 m below the geoid.