The Center for GeoInformatics (C4G) at Louisiana State University (LSU) is the appointed Louisiana Spatial Reference Center (LSRC) and as such developed a network of Continually Operating Reference Stations (CORS) aligned with the National Spatial Reference System (NSRS) defined by the United States National Geodetic Survey (NGS).
The mission of NGS is to define, maintain, and provide access to the NSRS, which is the official reference system for latitude, longitude, height, scale, gravity, and orientation throughout the United States and its territories. On June 30, 2012, NGS completed a nationwide adjustment of NGS "passive" control (physical marks, such as brass disk benchmarks) positioned using Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) technology. The adjustment was constrained to current North American Datum of 1983 (NAD 83) of NGS Continuously Operating Reference Stations (CORS), an "active" control system consisting of permanently mounted GNSS antennas that are the geometric foundation of the NSRS.
Current NAD 83 CORS coordinates were determined by re-processing all CORS data collected in the NGS initial Multi-Year CORS Solution (MYCS1) project. The resulting CORS coordinates were published by NGS in September 2011, and constitute a new realization referred to as NAD 83(2011), NAD 83(PA11), and NAD 83(MA11) Epoch 2010.00.
The Louisiana Spatial Reference Center (LSRC) was established in 2002 at Louisiana State University in response to users’ and public safety needs. The LSRC operates in conjunction with NOAA to develop and provide height modernization procedures in Louisiana as well as to share technology development with others.
NGS performs a daily coordinate quality check for each National CORS site. If the results of these daily solutions indicate a change in the current position of more than 2 cm horizontally, or 4 cm vertically, the posted coordinates for the site in error will be revised.
However, there has been great difficulty in keeping the revisions of published coordinates, particularly heights, up-to-date in areas of rapid subsidence, e.g., South Louisiana and the northern coast of the Gulf of Mexico. Datasheets for these stations will lack a published elevation and contain this warning.
** This station is in an area of known vertical motion. If an
** orthometric height was ever established but is not available
** in the current survey control section, the orthometric height
** is considered suspect. Suspect heights are available in the
** superseded section only if requested.
In the standard publication model CORS’ published coordinates are updated if they have changed by greater than 2 cm horizontally or greater than 4 cm vertically. Therefore, the initial coordinates used for reference in the real-time-network (RTN) may differ from the more precisely resolved coordinates fitted by the active software. In the subsidence area that is South Louisiana, the RTN struggled with using some stations’ published coordinates. Some were seeing a difference of as much as 13 cm! The staff of LSU C4G performed a careful network adjustment for those errant stations to determine the most probably correct values for them in the NSRS. Some advanced users of the C4Gnet may study the vectors in their RTN solutions and notice a difference from the coordinate of a CORS from its published coordinates. This is to be expected if the station is one that was brought more closely into line with the NSRS by the adjustment.
The issue may be restated this way. LSU C4G constrains C4Gnet to the NSRS by holding the stations to the published values of the thirty-one National CORS within the network. When the published coordinates are within the expected error budget allowed by NGS the network performs as expected. If a station is determined to have a position outside the expected error budget, the network software then struggles as it tries to make that errant position fit, and will discontinue its use until the source of the difference is resolved. Six stations of the thirty-one exhibited excessive deviation and updated positions were determined for them as follows.
|1||AMER||29°26’58.49765” N||91°20’17.21198” W||-14.403 m|
|2||CALC||29°46’05.28102” N||93°20’34.37130” W||-13.860 m|
|3||GRIS||29°15’55.88294” N||89°57’26.26208” W||-15.688 m|
|4||LMCN||29°15’17.90439” N||90°39’40.65134” W||-14.791 m|
|5||MCNE||30°10’50.02279” N||93°13’03.84340” W||-8.769 m|
|6||SBCH||29°52’05.20564” N||89°40’23.63833” W||-14.860 m|
|These coordinate adjustments were made in December of 2017|
If a user of the C4Gnet is working near one of these stations and takes the trouble to determine the position of the station on the reference side of a vector, he will see these as the coordinates in lieu of the out-of-spec published coordinates
The whole of the LSU C4G RTN, called C4Gnet, is carefully aligned with the NSRS. NGS specifies that to make that claim 10% of a network’s CORS be National CORS. Thirty-one of the fifty-seven GULFnet CORS in Louisiana are National CORS, 54%. Subscribers to C4Gnet RTN may have very high confidence that it is well aligned to and represents the NSRS, and results from using the C4Gnet compliant with Louisiana Revised Statute 50:173.1.
- JAC 2018
The Surveyors Historical Society is dedicated to exploring, preserving and teaching the accomplishments of surveyors. Their annual Rendezvous has grown to become a premier event in the United States, educational, affordable and fun and anyone may attend! The Louisiana Society of professional Surveyors is hosting the event with Ralph Gipson’s leadership as chairman.
The Surveyors Historical Society erects a monument or researches some important survey corner as part of each year’s Rendezvous. The New Orleans Rendezvous in the fall of 2018, will see the preservation of the first Initial Point in the Public Land Survey System. The Government Land Office surveys started in the Mississippi Territory in 1803 with a 40-mile experimental line run from Natchez Mississippi to the 31st Parallel set by Andrew Ellicott known as the “Line of Demarcation”, or “Ellicott’s Line”.
Deputy Surveyor Charles Defrance ran East 6 miles and 12 perches Commencing at a mound (# 18) set by Ellicott, where on November 27th, 2018 he set the Initial Point of the Washington Meridian. Thomas Freeman returned to this Initial Point in 1819 and ran a Meridian South that became the St. Helena’s Meridian, which controlled GLO surveys in Louisiana.
An iron pipe as shown in Albert White’s book on Initial Points of the United States currently marks the point (30-59-56.0 N, 91-09-36.8 W). The line of demarcation has been researched by Milton Denny, PLS and Larry Crowley PE, PhD. Additional work needed to prove the correct location including looking for original witness tree ties will be performed in the field research in May.
Once the correct location is proven, the plan is to have a stone monument cut about 4 feet in height and 12 inches square with Washington Meridian inscribed on the North side, the South side will say St. Helena Meridian, the East side will say Line of Demarcation and the West will say Ellicott Line.
The LSU Center for GeoInformatics (C4G) supports efforts to preserve survey controls and their histories. Mr. J. Anthony Cavell, resident surveyor for the LSU C4G will join in the proving survey May 11 & 12. Mr. Cavell, is also one of the featured speakers at the Rendezvous in September. Watch this space for updates.
LSU Center for GeoInformatics(C4G) in partnership with the Space & Earth Geodetic Analysis Laboratory (SEGAL) at the Universidade de Beira Interior (UBI) and Instituto Dom Luis (IDL), Portugal will provides a framework for advancing geodetic analysis and modeling. Combining the skills and experiences from these of capable and motivated partners will lead to new opportunities that were previously inaccessible.
The partners will collaboratively pursue research and support for the precise point positioning of GPS/GNSS data, gravimetric geoid modeling, and the application of emerging geo-informatics technologies and services. C4G and SEGAL will develop new tools for analyzing Global Navigation and Satellite Systems (GNSS) data. Long term collaboration will also advance the development of a new gravimetric geoid model for Louisiana.
“Subsidence is a leading cause, if not the principal driver of wetlands losses in Louisiana,”
- C4G researcher Joshua Kent.
Louisiana’s coastal wetlands are lost at nearly one football field every hour.”
- U.S. Geological Survey
“Gravimetric surveys conducted by the C4G will ultimately allow us to re-connect with the geoid to calculate better elevations" and “knowing how high we are above sea level.”
- C4G geodesist Cliff Mugnier.
“We have applied our in-house developed software in the computation of regional and national geoid projects in North Mozambique, Madeira and more recently in Bhutan.”
- Machiel Bos, SEGAL researcher
“This collaboration is a unique opportunity to partner with a very enthusiastic team that combines pure and applied research in several areas of geosciences with enormous societal implications,”
- Rui Fernandes, of SEGAL.
“I anticipate significant innovation from our relationship.”
- George Z. Voyiadjis, Boyd Professor and Director of C4G
November 26, 2018
BATON ROUGE, LA – Throughout the month of October, 10 members of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency visited LSU’s campus and other statewide GPS sites to take gravity measurements for a research project spearheaded by LSU Center for Geoinformatics (C4G) Chief of Geodesy Cliff Mugnier.
Every five to 10 years, the NGA takes measurements of the earth’s gravity field to check for subsidence, a project Mugnier has been working on for nearly 30 years.
“LSU has the largest university-owned network of permanent GPS stations in the world, which reach from Louisiana throughout the Gulf Coast,” Mugnier said. “Over the years, I have asked the military to come in to take measurements at these stations. I first go to the New Orleans Corps of Engineers, whose colonel then writes a letter to the Pentagon asking if they can come to Louisiana and observe different places where we have our GPS antennas for our research on subsidence. The idea is if you come back to the same spot over a period of years and see an increase in the strength of the earth’s gravity, that means you’re getting closer to the center of the earth, which equates to subsiding.”
The NGA kicked off its recent Louisiana trip at LSU’s Absolute Gravity Station using instrumentation similar to the FG5-X Absolute Gravity meter that C4G purchased this year. C4G also houses two CG5 Relative Gravity meters. From LSU, the NGA team—consisting of two groups of five trainees from New Mexico, Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri, and both the East and West Coasts—moved on to other GPS core sites across south Louisiana that included Oakdale, Alexandria, New Orleans, Slidell, Boothville, Lafayette, Lake Charles, Cocodrie, and Grand Isle. The NGA will take measurements in north Louisiana this winter to conclude their 2018 Louisiana campaign.
“The reason for these gravity measurements is to have a completely independent physical measurement of vertical movement as a function of gravity, rather than readings from the GPS satellites,” Mugnier said. “It all fits together for the subsidence research, but another reason is when people mortgage their homes, the banks require them to have flood insurance, which is based on elevation. The Corps [of Engineers] is also interested in subsidence because they have the responsibility of levees and flood control.”
The NGA hasn’t visited Louisiana since 2003, shortly after Mugnier arrived at LSU. Though subsidence is of vast importance to Louisianans, the NGA does not take measurements every year because subsidence is a slow process.
“If you do it too frequently, the observations get lost in what is called white noise,” Mugnier said. “Even though the instruments are super precise, you still have to have the time for the sinking to be enough for the instruments to detect.”
Mugnier’s research on Louisiana subsidence began when he taught at the University of New Orleans, where the first NGA measurements were taken in 1989. Since then, research has shown that UNO’s campus is sinking at a rate of 9.1 mm/year, which Mugnier said is significant when you consider that equates to 3 feet in 100 years.
“Three feet is a whole lot when you also consider sea level is rising about 2 mm each year,” he said.
Since the first reading taken at LSU around 2003 by the National Geodetic Survey, it has been discovered that LSU’s campus is subsiding around 5 mm/year near the fault line on Nicholson Drive. The campus is on the downside of the fault.
Since subsidence is an unstoppable force, Mugnier has made sure that C4G will continue his research when he is no longer at LSU. The man who started C4G, LSU Professor Roy K. Dokka, established the organization whose mission is in keeping with state law that says C4G is the source to keep track of elevations for the state of Louisiana.
“So, we have an organization that’s going to be here long after I’m gone,” Mugnier said. “And we have the perfect research project that will go on forever.”