ABSTRACT

Zero-length spring gravity sensors, such as the Micro-g LaCoste Turnkey Airborne Gravity System (TAGS), are widely used in airborne gravimetry applications due to their virtually drift-free characteristics. However, the quality of the final gravity product depends on the methods chosen to correct for several dynamic effects, including the Eötvös correction, the vertical acceleration correction of the moving aircraft, and the instrument platform tilt correction. For geodetic applications using regional gravity field mapping for geoid determination, the choices of correction method are extremely important because the flights are done uncommonly high and fast. For this reason, and in support of the Gravity for the Redefinition of the American Vertical Datum (GRAV-D) project, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Geodetic Survey (NGS), and Fugro Geospatial have independently developed airborne gravity processing software packages for TAGS data — called Newton and GravPRO, respectively. We have evaluated the airborne gravity data processing methods that are used in the two software packages. We processed a GRAV-D data set collected by NGS over Louisiana and the Gulf of Mexico in 2008 with both packages, we compared the results for each major data correction applied, and we evaluated unique add-on features and tools. The results determined that the two software packages were very comparable, both yielding an excellent crossover root-mean-square of 1.8 mGal without any crossover adjustment applied. For the worst 14% of survey lines, which had higher levels of aircraft dynamics during flight, GravPRO was able to retain more data due to advantages in its platform tilt correction method. Also, GravPRO’s instrument calibration function, which is based on crossover error analysis, found a 45% improvement in achievable survey precision from approximately 2 mGal to approximately 1 mGal when comparing the test data set to a global gravity model.

You do not currently have access to this article.