Geodesy: The science underneath

Martin Vermeer

Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned report


Geodesy is the science of precisely measuring and mapping the Earth’s surface and locations of objects on it, the figure of the Earth and her gravity field, and changes in all these over time. Geodesy is an old science, going back to the days when land was taken into agricultural use and needed to be mapped. It is also a modern science, serving vital infrastructure needs of our developing global technological society.

This text aims to describe the foundations of both traditional geodesy, mapping the Earth within the constraints of the human living space, and modern geodesy, exploiting space technology for mapping and monitoring our planet as a whole, in a unified threedimensional fashion. The approach is throughout at conveying an understanding of the concepts, of both the science and mathematics of measuring and mapping the Earth and the technologies used for doing so. The history of the science is not neglected, and the perspective of the presentation is unapologetically Finnish.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherAalto University
Number of pages605
ISBN (Electronic)978-952-60-8872-3
Publication statusPublished - 2019
MoE publication typeD4 Published development or research report or study

Publication series

NameAalto University publication series SCIENCE + TECHNOLOGY
PublisherAalto University
ISSN (Electronic)1799-490X


  • geodesy
  • land surveying
  • mapping
  • geodetic measurements
  • networks
  • co-ordinates
  • height
  • least-squares estimation
  • the built environment
  • figure of the Earth
  • GPS
  • space geodesy
  • gravity
  • geodynamics
  • geophysics


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