Geodetic Infrastructure in Antarctica

Project Description
The SCAR GIANT programme is reponsible to establish and maintain a high precision geodetic infrastructure for Antarctica. It operates a range of geodesy projects. Details on these can be found in the current GIANT work programme.

There has been considerable international cooperation in Antarctic Geodesy since SCAR was formed in 1958. The Geodetic Infrastructure for Antarctica (GIANT) program was identified in the SCAR 1992 meeting and has evolved as the coordinating program for all SCAR Antarctic geodesy.

Antarctica is important in the context of global geodesy. In the past global models have heavily relied on observations from Northern Hemisphere sites and the results do not always fit in the Southern Hemisphere or represent the best global picture. Antarctic space geodetic observatories have provided data to rectify this imbalance.

With advent of man made satellites Geodesy has advanced significantly linking isolated geodetic networks and monitoring tectonic motion. A number of permanent GPS receivers have been installed in Antarctica and data is increasingly being retrieved by satellite transmission from these sites.

This fiducial network of GPS points, augmented by VLBI and other techniques, forms the basis for an integrated geodetic infrastructure as the basis for all scientific spatial data. Data from these sites in Antarctica are of ongoing importance to global geodesy, especially in the determinations of precise orbits and the integration of different observational techniques. These sites provide a stable platform for combining summer epoch campaigns, densifying the ITRF network across Antarctica.

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