A comparison of stable platform and strapdown airborne gravity

C.L. Glennie, K.P. Schwarz, A.M. Bruton, René Forsberg, Arne Vestergaard Olesen, K. Keller

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


To date, operational airborne gravity results have been obtained using either a damped two-axis stable platform gravimeter system such as the LaCoste and Romberg (LCR) S-model marine gravimeter or a strapdown inertial navigation system (INS), showing comparable accuracies. In June 1998 three flight test's were undertaken which tested an LCR gravimeter and a strapdown INS gravity system side by side. To the authors' knowledge, this was the first time such a comparison flight was undertaken. The flights occurred in Disko Bay, off the west coast of Greenland. Several of the flight lines were partly flown along existing shipborne gravity profiles to allow for an independent source of comparison of the results. The results and analysis of these flight tests are presented. The measurement method and error models for both the-stable platform and strapdown INS gravity systems are presented and contrasted. An intercomparison of gravity estimates from both systems is given, along with a comparison of the individual estimates with existing shipborne gravity profiles. The results of the flight tests show that the gravity estimates from the two systems agree at the 2-3 mGal level, after the removal of a linear bias. This is near the combined noise level of the two systems. It appears that a combination of both systems would provide an ideal airborne gravity survey system, combining the excellent bias stability of the LCR gravimeter with the higher dynamic range and increased spatial resolution of the strapdown INS.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Geodesy
Issue number5
Pages (from-to)383-389
Publication statusPublished - 2000


  • analysis of flight tests
  • airborne gravimetry
  • strapdown gravity system
  • DGPS/INS integration

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