Geodesy & Cartographic Systems

Code UE : HBB350

  • Cours + travaux pratiques
  • 3 crédits
  • Volume horaire de référence
    (+ ou - 10%) : 30 heures



Public, conditions d’accès et prérequis

Entry requirements  
Initial Competences 
Same as to be admitted to higher education. 
Good knowledge of mathematics 
Good knowledge of physics 
Good knowledge of English 
Relation to other courses 
HB300 – Information technology 
HB310 – Navigation 
HB340 – Tides and currents 
HB360 – Hydrographic surveying 
HB370 – data management 
HB500 – Hydrographic practice 

Objectifs pédagogiques

Module Outline: 
  • Introduction to geodesy 
- The shape of the Earth 
- The ellipsoid of revolution and its relation to the Geoid 
- Datums 
- The principles of gravity models and gravity reduction 
- Transformation between ellipsoids and/or datums 
- Celestial sphere and coordinate systems 
- Basics of astronomic positioning 
- Impact of geocentric vs. Local geodetic datums 
- Essentials of gravimetry 
- Vertical reference systems 
- Definition of a cartographic system 

  • Coordinate systems for positioning 
- Time: Julian date, civil time, official time, astronomic-, sidereal- and solar time GPS time 
- Geodetic, astronomic, orbital and geocentric systems 
- The Conventional Terrestrial System and some of its practical realizations such as GRS80, WGS84 etc. 
  • Geodetic computations 
- Plane and geodetic computations. Calculate forward and inverse computations on the ellipsoid using appropriate software 
  • Map projections 
General theory on map projections 
Classification (orthogonal vs. Non-orthogonal, etc...) 
Main properties of cylindrical, azimutal and conical projections (including development of the analytical projection formulae) 
Deformations (conform, equivalent, equidistant, aphylactic) 
Calculation of the deformation based on the indicatrix of Tissot 
Detailed approach of certain conformal projections (Mercator, Stereographic Azimutal) 
UTM (including military and civil grid system) 
  • Grids and graticules on projections 
  • Map Use 
Reading and understanding of the metadata on maps and use of them regarding the map reading. 
Transformation between geographic and grid coordinates, compute convergence, scale factors and arc to chord corrections, using appropriate software 

Compétences visées

Learning Outcomes: 
  • Describe the shape of the Earth in terms of potential and ellipsoidal models 
  • To be able to explain modern geodetic reference systems and associated reference systems 
  • Explain horizontal and vertical datum transformation concepts 
  • Being able to describe geometry of lines on the ellipsoid and perform forward and inverse computations on the ellipsoidal surface 
  • Explain the properties and distortions in different types of projections used in maps and charts 
  • To be able to explain projection types and to apply appropriate projection formulae 
  • To be able to distinguish gravity-related and ellipsoidal heights 


Lecture 1 Introduction to geodesy 
Lecture 2 Coordinate systems for positioning 
Lecture 3 Geodetic computations 
Lecture 4 Map Projections 
Lecture 5 Grids and graticules on projections 
Lecture 6 Map Use 

Modalité d'évaluation

Evaluation form 
Written examination, partly with multiple choice, partly with open questions. 
Fieldwork – permanent evaluation the practical exercises. 
Assessment methodology 
The final figure of assessment is composed of: 
80% (written examination) 
20% (permanent evaluation) 
Assessment criteria 
Theory examination: quality of knowledge, insight, relation between subjects, …  
Permanent evaluation: workshops, proof of attendance, portfolio: reports, exercises, ... 

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