Encyclopedia of Solid Earth Geophysics

2011 Edition
| Editors: Harsh K. Gupta

Geodesy, Ground Positioning and Leveling

  • Stelios P. Mertikas
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-90-481-8702-7_178


Height determination; Terrestrial positioning


Geodesy. Science for the determination and representation of the figure, shape, size of the Earth and of other celestial bodies along with their external gravity field as a function of time.

Positioning. Determination of coordinates for points on earth, sea, or space with respect to a reference system.

Ground positioning. Determination of terrestrial coordinates.

Leveling. The determination of heights of points with respect to a reference surface.


Geodesy, along with Astronomy, is considered the oldest earth science, and dates back to the Sumerians of 5,000 years ago. The word “geodesy” is composite and is derived from the Greek noun «Γη = earth» and the verb «δαίω = divide». It is, literally, the science used to “divide, distribute, and measure the Earth.” The roots of geodesy can be found in ancient Egypt and Babylon where “the geometry of the Earth” was used for the recovery of the land property...

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Laboratory of Geodesy and Geomatics Engineering, Exploration and Positioning Division, Department of Mineral Resources EngineeringTechnical University of CreteCreteGreece