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SURV302 Geodetic Reference Systems and Network Analysis

An introduction to field astronomy and geodesy including height systems, precise levelling gravity and geodetic datums. Advanced methods of analysing surveying data including error ellipses, automated network adjustment, and network analysis.

This paper gives students a basic understanding of field astronomy, the methods used to compute satellite orbits, geodetic reference systems and least square techniques. Understanding of these techniques is essential for anyone who plans a career in surveying.

Paper title Geodetic Reference Systems and Network Analysis
Paper code SURV302
Subject Surveying
EFTS 0.1350
Points 18 points
Teaching period First Semester
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $1,080.41
International Tuition Fees (NZD) $4,127.76

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SURV 202 or SURV 212
SURV 312
Schedule C
Teaching staff
Dr Robert Odolinski and Dr David Goodwin
Paper Structure
This paper covers four key themes:
  • Field astronomy
  • Kepler's Laws and Keplerian orbits
  • Geodesy
  • Least squares analysis
Topics covered include:

Spherical Astronomy
  • Review of spherical trigonometry
  • Astronomical coordinate systems
  • Time
  • Observational corrections
  • Azimuth by altitudes and hour angles
  • Practical determination of azimuth
Satellite Orbit Computations
  • The normal orbit/Kepler's Laws
  • Coordinate system transformations
  • The perturbed orbit
Introduction to Geodesy
  • The ellipsoid and its representation
  • Geodetic datums
  • Gravity field of the Earth
  • Height systems
  • Height determination
Least Squares Analysis
  • Review of the derivation
  • Error propagation
  • Error analysis
  • Single-variable, post-adjustment statistical tests
  • Multi-variable, post-adjustment analysis
  • Error ellipsoids
  • Relative error ellipses
  • Network realisation, pre-analysis and design
  • Adjustments on the ellipsoid
  • Use of SNAP
  • LINZ network design and control specifications
Teaching Arrangements
48 Lectures: 4 per week for 12 weeks.
Textbooks are not required for this paper.
Graduate Attributes Emphasised
Global perspective, Interdisciplinary perspective, Lifelong learning, Scholarship, Critical thinking, Information literacy, Research, Self-motivation.
View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
Learning Outcomes
  • Students will be able to determine azimuth from time and altitude observations to the sun and stars, knowing how to undertake star predictions and where to find the necessary information. They will then be able to use spherical trigonometry to solve the requisite astronomical problem
  • Students will be able to transform coordinates from an inertial reference frame to an Earth-fixed reference frame
  • Students will understand geodetic reference systems used in New Zealand and Australia
  • Students will understand and be able to apply the basic concepts of geometric, physical and satellite geodesy
  • Students will understand the different height systems that exist and methods of height determination. They will also understand how to calculate and apply any height corrections that might be needed
  • Students will know the appropriate post-survey statistical tests to apply to an adjusted network so as to identify observational errors and be able to apply error estimates for derived parameters. This will include the use of error ellipses and error ellipsoids
  • Students will be able to use the SNAP software to undertake basic least squares positioning problems. They will also be able to use the software to undertake network pre- and post-survey analysis

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First Semester

Teaching method
This paper is taught On Campus
Learning management system


Stream Days Times Weeks
L1 Monday 09:00-09:50 9-13, 15-22
Tuesday 11:00-11:50 9-13, 15-22
Wednesday 09:00-09:50 9-13, 15-16, 18-22
Thursday 10:00-10:50 9-13, 15-22


Stream Days Times Weeks
T1 Monday 10:00-10:50 9-13, 15-22