Original Article

Journal of Geodesy

, Volume 81, Issue 6, pp 409-421

First online:

Effect of different tropospheric mapping functions on the TRF, CRF and position time-series estimated from VLBI

  • Volker TesmerAffiliated withDeutsches Geodätisches Forschungsinstitut (DGFI) Email author 
  • , Johannes BoehmAffiliated withInstitute of Geodesy and Geophysics (IGG), TU Vienna
  • , Robert HeinkelmannAffiliated withInstitute of Geodesy and Geophysics (IGG), TU Vienna
  • , Harald SchuhAffiliated withInstitute of Geodesy and Geophysics (IGG), TU Vienna

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This paper compares estimated terrestrial reference frames (TRF) and celestial reference frames (CRF) as well as position time-series in terms of systematic differences, scale, annual signals and station position repeatabilities using four different tropospheric mapping functions (MF): The NMF (Niell Mapping Function) and the recently developed GMF (Global Mapping Function) consist of easy-to-handle stand-alone formulae, whereas the IMF (Isobaric Mapping Function) and the VMF1 (Vienna Mapping Function 1) are determined from numerical weather models. All computations were performed at the Deutsches Geodätisches Forschungsinstitut (DGFI) using the OCCAM 6.1 and DOGS-CS software packages for Very Long Baseline Interferometry (VLBI) data from 1984 until 2005. While it turned out that CRF estimates only slightly depend on the MF used, showing small systematic effects up to 0.025 mas, some station heights of the computed TRF change by up to 13 mm. The best agreement was achieved for the VMF1 and GMF results concerning the TRFs, and for the VMF1 and IMF results concerning scale variations and position time-series. The amplitudes of the annual periodical signals in the time-series of estimated heights differ by up to 5 mm. The best precision in terms of station height repeatability is found for the VMF1, which is 5–7% better than for the other MFs.


VLBI Troposphere Mapping function Reference frame