Geodesy Needs Renewed Investment Says NRC

Geodesy Needs Renewed Investment Says NRC

Geodesy is the science of measuring the Earth’s shape, orientation in space, and gravity field, and how they change over time, and the space- and ground-based systems that provide those critical measurements need renewed investment says the National Research Council (NRC).

A summary of a new report from the NRC’s Board on Earth Sciences and Resources (BESR) on the geodetic infrastructure was released today in advance of a meeting later this week of the National Advisory Board on Positioning, Navigation and Timing (see our calendar on the right menu for details). The full report will be released later this month.

NASA and DOD satellites and NSF radio telescopes are among the U.S. facilities used to provide geodetic data. The report summary lists elevation maps, navigation systems, precision agriculture, and early warning for hazards as some of the beneficiaries of geodetic data. The authors state that:

“U.S. federal agencies have made considerable contributions to the geodetic infrastructure on the global scale. These past investments, however, are degrading as the infrastructure ages. Unless the infrastructure is maintained, the existing applications that depend on accurate information about the Earth will degrade in quality, and progress toward more sophisticated applications will stall.”

From the standpoint of space-based systems, the report highlights the need “to establish and maintain a high-precision GPS national network constructed to scientific specifications that can work with other GNSS networks around the world and stream high volumes of data in real time.”

The report was requested by NASA. NSF, USGS, the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, the U.S. Naval Observatory, and NOAA’s National Geodetic Survey.

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