Red X iconGreen tick iconYellow tick icon


    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 geodetic reference systems, least square techniques and GPS/GNSS positioning. Understanding of these techniques is essential for anyone who plans a career in surveying.

    About this paper

    Paper title Geodetic Reference Systems and Network Analysis
    Subject Surveying
    EFTS 0.1334
    Points 18 points
    Teaching period Semester 1 (On campus)
    Domestic Tuition Fees ( NZD ) $1,206.20
    International Tuition Fees Tuition Fees for international students are elsewhere on this website.
    SURV 202 or SURV 212
    SURV 312
    Schedule C
    Teaching staff

    Dr Robert Odolinski

    Paper Structure

    This paper covers three key themes:

    • Geodesy, physical geodesy and gravity
    • Least squares analysis
    • GPS/GNSS positioning

    Topics covered include:

    Introduction to Geodesy, physical geodesy and gravity

    • 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
    • Use of SNAP
    • Network design and control specifications

    GPS/GNSS positioning

    • Single point positioning 
    • Relative code positioning
    • Real-time kinematic positioning including the carrier phase observations


    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 who successfully complete this paper will:

    • understand geodetic reference systems used in New Zealand
    • understand and be able to apply the basic concepts of geometric and physical geodesy
    • 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
    • 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 confidence intervals
    • be able to use the SNAP software to undertake basic least squares positioning problems
    • understand how to solve the unknown parameters for GPS/GNSS single point positioning (SPP) and real-time kinematic (RTK) positioning


    Semester 1

    Teaching method
    This paper is taught On Campus
    Learning management system


    Stream Days Times Weeks
    A1 Monday 09:00-09:50 9-13, 15-18, 20-22
    Monday 09:00-10:50 19
    Tuesday 11:00-11:50 9-13, 15-22
    Wednesday 09:00-10:50 9-13, 15-22
    Thursday 10:00-10:50 9-13, 15-16, 18-22


    Stream Days Times Weeks
    A1 Monday 10:00-10:50 9-13, 15-18, 20-22
    Back to top