Requirements for airborne gravity gradient terrain corrections
ASEG Extended Abstracts
2010(1) 1 - 4
Published: 01 September 2010
Accurate terrain corrections are important for all gravity surveying. In airborne surveys, a digital model of the terrain is constructed and terrain corrections are calculated at each airborne measurement point. Airborne gravity gradiometry is of high spatial resolution and is particularly sensitive to nearby topographic variations, placing particular requirements on the terrain corrections. A combination of mathematical analysis and simulation studies has led to quantification of the requirements: current on-shore, low-level gradiometer surveys require sub-metre accuracy in navigation and in digital terrain model heights; cell sizes (and therefore also topographic sampling) in the terrain model should be about one-third of the ground clearance. The choice of terrain correction density depends on the application and it is important that the interpreter of the corrected gravity data has the ability to test the impact of changes in this density. Accurate calculation of the gravity gradient field at the airborne sampling points may be achieved by a wide variety of either spatial or harmonic domain methods. Calculation in the harmonic domain is fast but assumes the data represent a periodic function on a planar surface. Padding methods for periodic extension and piecewise continuation away from a plane both add error and slow the calculation. Spatial domain methods are slower but can be sped up by the use of various approximations. In both cases, a clear understanding of accuracy requirements is essential for making an appropriate tradeoff between accuracy and speed.
Full text doi:10.1071/ASEG2010ab025
© ASEG 2010