Towards a New Height Datum for Uganda

Title:Towards a New Height Datum for Uganda
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2020
Authors:Ronald Ssengendo, Anthony Gidudu
JournalSouth African Journal of Geomatics
Abstract:A new height datum for Uganda is computed using the corrective surface principle. It is based on a combination of the Uganda Gravimetric Quasigeoid model (UGQ) 2014 and GNSS/levelling. UGQ2014 was derived from the Uganda Gravimetric Geoid model (UGG) 2014, which was computed from sparse terrestrial gravity data from the International Gravimetric Bureau, the 3 arc second Shuttle Radar Topography Mission digital elevation model and the GOCE – only global geopotential model GO_CONS_GCF_2_TIM_R5.  The corrective surface was constructed based on 21 discrete GNSS/levelling points and then evaluated with 4 independent points. Three interpolation techniques were tested for the creation of the corrective surface with the Kriging method giving the lowest standard deviation and noise level suggesting that it is the best method for interpolation.
In terms of absolute heights, the RMS of the fit between the known and computed normal-orthometric heights based on the new height datum is 11cm, which is about 5cm (31%) better than using UGQ2014 alone. For relative heights an average precision of 29 ppm is computed for all baselines tested. Both the absolute and relative tests show that the new height datum satisfies the precision and accuracy requirements of third order precise levelling. It is therefore possible for surveyors in Uganda to use the new height datum as a practical solution for the determination of normal-orthometric heights directly from GNSS especially for most standard engineering and surveying applications.