Towards an International Height Reference System: insights from the Colorado geoid experiment using AUSGeoid computation methods
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This is a post-peer-review, pre-copyedit version of an article published in Journal of Geodesy. The final authenticated version is available online at: http://doi.org/10.1007/s00190-020-01379-3.
We apply the AUSGeoid data processing and computation methodologies to data provided for the International Height Reference System (IHRS) Colorado experiment as part of the International Association of Geodesy Joint Working Groups 0.1.2 and 2.2.2. This experiment is undertaken to test a range of different geoid computation methods from international research groups with a view to standardising these methods to form a set of conventions that can be established as an IHRS. The IHRS can realise an International Height Reference Frame to be used to study physical changes on and within the Earth. The Colorado experiment study site is much more mountainous (maximum height 4401 m) than the mostly flat Australian continent (maximum height 2228 m), and the available data over Colorado are different from Australian data (e.g. much more extensive airborne gravity coverage). Hence, we have tested and applied several modifications to the AUSGeoid approach, which had been tailored to the Australian situation. This includes different methods for the computation of terrain corrections, the gridding of terrestrial gravity data, the treatment of long-wavelength errors in the gravity anomaly grid and the combination of terrestrial and airborne data. A new method that has not previously been tested is the application of a spherical harmonic high-pass filter to residual anomalies. The results indicate that the AUSGeoid methods can successfully be used to compute a high accuracy geoid in challenging mountainous conditions. Modifications to the AUSGeoid approach lead to root-mean-square differences between geoid models up to ~ 0.028 m and agreement with GNSS-levelling data to ~ 0.044 m, but the benefits of these modifications cannot be rigorously assessed due to the limitation of the GNSS-levelling accuracy over the computation area.
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