Clock networks for height system unification

A simulation study

authored by
Hu Wu, Jürgen Müller, Claus Lämmerzahl

The unification of local height systems has been a classical geodetic problem for a long time, the main challenges of which are the estimation of offsets between different height systems and the correction of tilts along the levelling lines. It has been proposed to address these challenges with clock networks. The latest generation of optical clocks as well as the dedicated frequency links, for example optical fibres, are now approaching to deliver the comparison of frequencies at the level of 1.0 × 10 -18. It corresponds to an accuracy of about 1.0 cm in height difference. Clock networks can thus serve as a powerful tool to connect local height systems. To verify the idea, we carried out simulations using the EUVN/2000 (European Unified Vertical Network) as apriori input. Four local height systems were simulated from the EUVN/2000 by introducing individual offsets and tilts, and were reunified by using measurements in clock networks. The results demonstrate the great potential of clock networks for height system unification. In case that the offsets between different height systems and tilts along national levelling lines in both longitudinal and latitudinal directions are considered, three or four clocks measurements for each local region are sufficient for the unification. These clocks are to be interconnected and should be properly arranged so that they can sense the levelling tilts where necessary. Our results also indicate that even clocks with one magnitude poorer accuracy than the desired ones can still unify the height systems to some extent, but it may cause a shift for the reunified system.

Institute of Geodesy
External Organisation(s)
Center of Applied Space Technology and Microgravity (ZARM)
Geophysical journal international
No. of pages
Publication date
Publication status
Peer reviewed
ASJC Scopus subject areas
Geophysics, Geochemistry and Petrology
Electronic version(s) (Access: Closed)

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