EGU General Assembly 2020
© Author(s) 2021. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Operational infrastructure to ensure the long-term sustainability of the IHRS/IHRF

Riccardo Barzaghi1, Laura Sanchez2, and George Vergos3
Riccardo Barzaghi et al.
  • 1Politecnico di Milano, DICA, Milano, Italy (
  • 2Deutsches Geodätisches Forschungsinstitut ,Technische Universität München, Munich, Germany (
  • 3Department of Geodesy and Surveying, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Thessaloniki, Greece (

An objective of the International Height Reference System (IHRS) and its realization (the IHRF) is to support the monitoring and analysis of Earth’s system changes. The more accurate the IHRS/IHRF is, the more phenomena can be identified and modelled. Thus, the IHRS/IHRF must provide vertical coordinates and their changes with time as accurately as possible. As many global change phenomena occur at different scales, the global frame should be extended to regional and local levels to guarantee consistency in the observation, detection, and modelling of their effects. From this perspective, an operational infrastructure is needed to ensure the long-term sustainability of the IHRS/IHRF. In this contribution, we discuss the possibility of establishing such as infrastructure within the International Association of Geodesy (IAG) and its International Gravity Field Service (IGFS). Some aspects to be considered are:

  • - Improvements in the IHRS definition and realization following future developments in geodetic theory, observations and modelling.
  • - Refinement of the IHRS/IHRF standards/conventions based on the unification of the standards/conventions used by the geometric and gravity IAG Services.
  • - Development of strategies for collocation of IHRF stations with existing gravity and geometrical reference stations at different densification levels.
  • - Identification of the geodetic products associated with the IHRF and description of the elements to be considered in the corresponding metadata.
  • - Servicing the vertical datum needs of other geosciences such as, e.g., hydrography and oceanography.
  • - Implementation of a registry containing the existing local/regional height systems and their connections to the global IHRS/IHRF.

How to cite: Barzaghi, R., Sanchez, L., and Vergos, G.: Operational infrastructure to ensure the long-term sustainability of the IHRS/IHRF, EGU General Assembly 2020, Online, 4–8 May 2020, EGU2020-7961,, 2020


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