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Lecture# Additional Transformations from/to ECEF

Description

This lecture covers additional transformations from and to Earth-Centered, Earth-Fixed (ECEF) coordinates, focusing on the conversion between geocentric and geodetic systems, map projections, and vertical reference systems. It explains the concepts of geoid, orthometric height, quasi-geoid, and normal height, providing insights into the parameters and models used in defining reference systems. The lecture also delves into the Swiss example of vertical reference systems and the recommended paths for transformations between different coordinate systems.

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Normal height

Normal heights is a type of height above sea level introduced by Mikhail Molodenskii. The normal height (or ) of a point is computed as the ratio of a point's geopotential number (i.e. its geopotential difference with that of sea level), by the average, normal gravity computed along the plumb line of the point. (More precisely, along the ellipsoidal normal, averaging over the height range from 0 — on the reference ellipsoid — to ; the procedure is thus recursive.) Normal heights are thus dependent upon the reference ellipsoid chosen.

Geodetic coordinates

Geodetic coordinates are a type of curvilinear orthogonal coordinate system used in geodesy based on a reference ellipsoid. They include geodetic latitude (north/south) φ, longitude (east/west) λ, and ellipsoidal height h (also known as geodetic height). The triad is also known as Earth ellipsoidal coordinates (not to be confused with ellipsoidal-harmonic coordinates). Longitude measures the rotational angle between the zero meridian and the measured point. By convention for the Earth, Moon and Sun, it is expressed in degrees ranging from −180° to +180°.

Orthometric height

The orthometric height is the vertical distance H along the plumb line from a point of interest to a reference surface known as the geoid, the vertical datum that approximates mean sea level. Orthometric height is one of the scientific formalizations of a laypersons' "height above sea level", along with other types of heights in Geodesy. In the US, the current NAVD88 datum is tied to a defined elevation at one point rather than to any location's exact mean sea level.

Vertical deflection

The vertical deflection (VD) or deflection of the vertical (DoV), also known as deflection of the plumb line and astro-geodetic deflection, is a measure of how far the gravity direction at a given point of interest is rotated by local mass anomalies such as nearby mountains. They are widely used in geodesy, for surveying networks and for geophysical purposes. The vertical deflection are the angular components between the true zenith–nadir curve (plumb line) tangent line and the normal vector to the surface of the reference ellipsoid (chosen to approximate the Earth's sea-level surface).

Spatial reference system

A spatial reference system (SRS) or coordinate reference system (CRS) is a framework used to precisely measure locations on the surface of Earth as coordinates. It is thus the application of the abstract mathematics of coordinate systems and analytic geometry to geographic space. A particular SRS specification (for example, "Universal Transverse Mercator WGS 84 Zone 16N") comprises a choice of Earth ellipsoid, horizontal datum, map projection (except in the geographic coordinate system), origin point, and unit of measure.

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