What Is Geodesy?

Geodesy is the study and measurement of the Earth’s shape. It enables the calculation of positions and distances while taking into consideration the curvature of the Earth’s surface. Applications of geodesy include tracking changes in crustal motion, erosion, and post-glacial rebound. Examples of typical geodesic calculations include:

  • Surface area of polygons or quadrangle
  • Distances along an ellipsoidal surface
  • Intersections of lines and polygons
  • Azimuth angle between points
  • Great circles, rhumb lines, and small circles
  • Conversion between geodetic and geocentric latitude

For more information about geometric geodesy and map projections, see Mapping Toolbox™.

See also: Mapping Toolbox, Steve on Image Processing, map projection, image analysis, geometric transformations and image registration, image processing and computer vision, Teaching computing in geoscience resources