Terrestrial Gravimetry

Gravimetry is the science of measuring gravity or in other words the metrology of the measurement of the acceleration of gravity on the Earth's surface which is generated by the mass and rotation of the Earth and the mass of planets closeby. By means of gravity measurements on or close to the surface of the Earth the gravity field is determined. 


The term "gravimetry" is composed of two words - the Latin word gravitas = gravity and the Greek word τὸ μέτρον = dimension/measurement - and means "gravity measurement".

© IFE / M. Schilling  
Gravimetercomparison between FG5X-220 (background) and the FG5X-251 at the Mexican national metrological institute (CENAM).

Gravimetry is of importance for geodesy, geophysics and geodynamics as well as for space missions.

  • Geodesy: height and geoid determination
  • Geophysics and Geodynamics: research of the interior of the Earth and its movements, mass displacements inside the Earth's body and deformations of its surface, density models of the Earth, exploration of natural resources 
  • Space missions: orbit determination of spacecraft and satellites

Gravity determination obtained by satellite observations is assigned to satellite geodesy.