Studia Geophysica et Geodaetica

, Volume 62, Issue 2, pp 206–222 | Cite as

Improving the computation of the gravitational terrain effect close to ground stations in the GTE software

  • Martina CapponiEmail author
  • Ahmed H. Mansi
  • Daniele Sampietro


The precise computation of the vertical gravitational attraction of the topographic masses (terrain correction) is still being studied both for geodetic and geophysical applications. In fact, it is essential in high precision geoid estimation by means of the well-known remove-compute-restore technique, which is used to isolate the gravitational effects of anomalous masses in exploration geophysics. The terrain correction can be evaluated exploiting a Digital Terrain Model (DTM) in different ways, such as classical numerical integration, prisms, tesseroids, polyhedrons, and/or Fast Fourier Transform techniques. The increasing resolution of recently developed DTMs, the increasing number of observation points, and the increasing accuracy of gravity data represent, nowadays, major challenges for the terrain correction computation. Classical point mass approximation and prism based-algorithms are indeed too slow, while Fourier-based algorithms are usually too much approximate when compared to the required accuracy. In this work, we improve the Gravity Terrain Effects (GTE) algorithm, the innovative tool that exploits a combined prism-Fast Fourier Transform approach especially developed for airborne gravimetry, to compute the terrain correction on the surface of the DTM (i.e. corresponding to the ground stations and/or its vicinity). This required development of a proper adjustment of the algorithms implemented within the GTE software and also to define and implement a procedure to overcome the problems of the computation of the gravitational effects due to the actual slope of the terrain close to the stations. The latter problem is thoroughly discussed and solved by testing different solutions like concentric cylindrical rings, triangulated polyhedrons, or ultra-high resolution squared prisms. Finally, numerical tests to prove the temporal efficiency and the computational performances of the improved GTE software to compute terrain correction for ground stations are also presented.


gravity terrain effects GTE ground stations terrestrial gravity cylindrical rings triangulated polyhedrons ultra-high resolution squared prisms 


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Copyright information

© Institute of Geophysics of the ASCR, v.v.i 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Martina Capponi
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Ahmed H. Mansi
    • 2
  • Daniele Sampietro
    • 3
  1. 1.DICEA, Area of Geomatics and GeodesyUniversità of Roma La SapienzaRomaItaly
  2. 2.DICAPolitecnico di MilanoMilanItaly
  3. 3.Geomatics Research & Development s.r.l.Lomazzo, ComoItaly

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