On the use of airborne gravimetry in gravity field modelling: Experiences from the AGMASCO project

L. Bastos, S. Cunha, René Forsberg, Arne Vestergaard Olesen, A. Gidskehaug, L. Timmen, U. Meyer

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


    Important areas of the earth are still not covered by accurate gravity measurements. The gravity field may be determined by using different techniques but airborne gravity surveying is becoming the most powerful tool available today. One of the main problems in airborne gravity is the separation of the vertical accelerations acting on the airborne platform from the natural gravity signal. With the advances in DGPS techniques new prospects arise for gravity field recovery which are of great importance for geodesy, geophysics oceanography and satellite navigation. Furthermore, airborne gravimetric measurements depend not only on the determination of the position but also on the attitude of the aircraft. Inertial systems can provide attitude as well as information on short-term accelerations, which are more problematic for the gravimeter. A proper integration of these systems may allow a further improvement of the whole technique where the quality of both the accelerometers and the gyros is the key sensing element. In the scope of the MAST III Project AGMASCO, an airborne geoid mapping system was successfully implemented in different aeroplanes. The characteristics of the aeroplane and the flight parameters play a major role in airborne measurements. Within AGMASCO the airborne system was applied both in a close and an open ocean (Skagerrak, Fram Strait and Azores) areas. The system proved to be a powerful tool in a variety of conditions. The results obtained showed that an accuracy better than 2mGal over 5 to 6 kilometres can be achieved. This was proven by comparison of the airborne data with ground truth and satellite data. This accuracy makes the system interesting for use in various applications including geophysical exploitation. Different hardware installations were experienced and the methods validated. Recovery of the gravity values directly from measurements with the Lacoste & Romberg air/sea gravimeter and from measurements with the inertial sensors was analysed. The potential of these sensors to recover gravity and the experience gained within this project are reported here.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalPhysics and Chemistry of the Earth Part A-solid Earth and Geodesy
    Issue number1
    Pages (from-to)1-7
    Publication statusPublished - 2000


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