Review Article

GPS Solutions

, Volume 8, Issue 4, pp 251-266

First online:

IGS reference frames: status and future improvements

  • J. RayAffiliated withBureau International des Poids et Mesures Sevres, France and U.S. National Geodetic Survey Silver Spring, Maryland, USA Email author 
  • , D. DongAffiliated withJet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology
  • , Z. AltamimiAffiliated withInstitut Géographique National

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The hierarchy of reference frames used in the International GPS Service (IGS) and the procedures and rationale for realizing them are reviewed. The Conventions of the International Earth Rotation and Reference Systems Service (IERS) lag developments in the IGS in a number of important respects. Recommendations are offered for changes in the IERS Conventions to recognize geocenter motion (as already implemented by the IGS) and to enforce greater model consistency in order to achieve higher precision for combined reference frame products. Despite large improvements in the internal consistency of IGS product sets, defects remain which should be addressed in future developments. If the IGS is to remain a leader in this area, then a comprehensive, long-range strategy should be formulated and pursued to maintain and enhance the IGS reference frame, as well as to improve its delivery to users. Actions should include the official designation of a high-performance reference tracking network whose stations are expected to meet the highest standards possible.