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Geodetic Infrastructure of Antarctica (GIANT)

As interest in earth sciences and the effects of change within Antarctica have grown over the years the need of earth monitoring observatories have increased. GIANT is an expert group established to oversee the development of geodetic infrastructure across the Antarctic Continent to facilitate the monitoring of its physical processes. The group has acted as an advisory committee to help coordinate various infrastructure associated with earth monitoring techniques such as GNSS, gravity meters as well as the installation of tide gauges to monitor sea level change.

GIANT Working Groups:

At the Portland meeting in 2012, the number of working groups was reduced and a list of the activities within each project of the GIANT Programme for the period 2012-14 is given below. Where possible, both the Project Leader and Co-Leader are identified. Membership is open to all.

1. Permanent Observatories

Project Leader: Kazuo Shibuya – Japan

  1. Facilitate new geodetic observatories or repeat measurements at existing observatories (GNSS, Gravity, Tide gauge observations);
  2. Compile a list of existing data and collocations;
  3. Encourage site operators to make data freely accessible;
  4. Publish links to IERS WG3 on site surveys;
  5. Publish links to web sites with details of all permanent geodetic sites including POLENET (to be included into project 2);
  6. Publish links to the web sites for the services for seismic and geomagnetic networks including IRIS ( and Intermagnet (;
  7. Compile lists of absolute gravity observations in Antarctica (to be included into project 3);
  8. Collaborate with other SCAR scientists to identify requirements for space geodetic sites;
  9. Publicise the Ant2000 datum resolution and make available recommended practices for the use of IGS products with this datum.

2. Crustal Movement from GNSS observations (formerly Epoch Crustal Movement Campaigns)

Project Leader: Mirko Scheinert – Germany
Project Co-Leader: Alessandro Capra – Italy

  1. Encourage and support coordination of regional episodic GNSS campaigns for reference frame densification or other targeted science applications;
  2. Maintain "SCAR GNSS Database";
  3. Incorporate linkage / metadata information for permanent GNSS stations;
  4. Encourage the use of appropriate site standards to allow multimodal use of the data;
  5. Cooperate with IAG Subcommission 1.4f for ITRF densification;
  6. Provide network solutions to compare with other solutions, like from POLENET. 

3. Gravity Field (formerly Physical Geodesy)

Project Leader: Mirko Scheinert – Germany
Project Co-Leader: Alessandro Capra – Italy

  1. Compile surface gravity data, promote new surveys (especially aerogravimetric surveys);
  2. Compile metadata on all kinds of gravimetric surveys and observations in Antarctica;
  3. Utilise gravity data for precise regional geoid determination in Antarctica;
  4. Collaborate with IAG Subcommission 2.4f "Gravity and Geoid in Antarctica";
  5. Promote absolute gravity observations to provide a reference to gravity datum. These observations are best taken at bases, preferably collocated with continuous GNSS sites;
  6. Promote gravity ties of airborne and relative gravity surveys to absolute gravity points.

4. Tide Gauge Data

Project Leader: Henk Brolsma - Australia
Project Co-Leader: Graeme Blick – New Zealand

  1. Update the connections between tide gauge benchmarks and GNSS sites on GIANT web page;
  2. Encourage gauge operators to calibrate gauges and make offsets available with tidal observations;
  3. Provide best practice examples of the establishment of tide gauges, both bottom mounted and acoustic, including data communication systems and gauge calibration techniques;
  4. Provide tide gauge data to ocean tide modellers including the IGS TIGA project;
  5. Publicise the application of tide gauge data to key science questions through the GIANT web page.

5. Antarctic Geodesy Summer School

Project Leader: Mirko Scheinert - Germany
Project Co-Leader: Alexej Matveev – Russia

  1. Carry out a summer school on Antarctic Geodesy at Bellingshausen in Austral summer 2013/2014;
  2. Coordinate with similar activities within SCAR Scientific Research Programme SERCE.


Terms of reference 

  1. Provide a common geospatial reference system for all Antarctic scientists and operators;
  2. Contribute to global geodesy for the study of the physical processes of the earth and the maintenance of the precise terrestrial reference frame;
  3. Provide information for monitoring the horizontal and vertical motion of the Antarctic;
  4. Provide advice to broader research community on the application of geodetic techniques and the reference frame in Antarctica;
  5. Maintain and develop geodetic infrastructure in Antarctica (permanent observatories, GNSS and especially collocated techniques);
  6. Contribute with data and expertise to the realisation and maintenance of a precise reference frame in Antarctica;
  7. Contribute data and solutions for further analyses, especially for geodynamic applications (e.g. GIA);
  8. Maintain a close interdisciplinary cooperation (especially to assist SCAR Scientific Research Programme SERCE);
  9. Provide information on technology and data access;
  10. Support scientists of neighbouring disciplines in the application of geodetic techniques (especially GNSS);
  11. Develop communication and outreach, support the education of early career scientists.