Course Title: Geodesy and Satellite Navigation Systems

Part A: Course Overview

Course Title: Geodesy and Satellite Navigation Systems

Credit Points: 12.00


Course Code




Learning Mode

Teaching Period(s)


City Campus


145H Mathematical & Geospatial Sciences


Sem 1 2006,
Sem 1 2007,
Sem 1 2008,
Sem 1 2009,
Sem 1 2010,
Sem 1 2011,
Sem 1 2012,
Sem 1 2013,
Sem 1 2014,
Sem 1 2015,
Sem 2 2016


City Campus


171H School of Science


Sem 2 2017,
Sem 2 2018,
Sem 2 2019,
Sem 2 2020,
Sem 2 2021,
Sem 2 2023


City Campus


171H School of Science


Sem 2 2017,
Sem 2 2020

Course Coordinator: Simon Fuller

Course Coordinator Phone: N/A

Course Coordinator Email:

Course Coordinator Location: 12.12.06

Course Coordinator Availability: By appointment, by email

Pre-requisite Courses and Assumed Knowledge and Capabilities


Course Description

This course introduces you to Geometrical and Physical Geodesy.  It reinforces your knowledge and skills about the concepts upon which the science of geodesy is based and the mathematical tools applied.  It examines how terrestrial and increasingly space-based geodetic measurements and techniques are used to define, maintain and use global and local coordinate reference systems.  The Earth’s gravity field, and how it is used to define and relate gravimetric and geometric vertical reference surfaces, is investigated through the study of physical geodesy.

Please note that if you take this course for a bachelor honours program, your overall mark in this course will be one of the course marks that will be used to calculate the weighted average mark (WAM) that will determine your award level. (This applies to students who commence enrolment in a bachelor honours program from 1 January 2016 onwards. See the WAM information web page for more information.)

Objectives/Learning Outcomes/Capability Development

This course contributes to the following Program Learning Outcomes for BH116 (Bachelor of Applied Science (Surveying) (Honours):

1.2 Demonstrate in-depth understanding of the spatial models and mathematical methods used in contemporary practice.
1.3 Understand specialist bodies of knowledge in surveying and geospatial science.
2.1 Apply standard and advanced techniques to solve a range of measurement and data management problems.
2.2 Proficiently perform survey computations in two and three dimensions
2.3 Be proficient in the recording, storage, management and reporting of spatial information.
4.1 Communicate effectively by means of oral, written and graphical presentations to peers and a wider audience.
5.1 Appreciate the environmental, social, legal and international aspects of actions and decisions in Surveying and the geospatial sciences.

On completion of this course you should be able to:

  1. Compare global geometric coordinate reference frames and their application to a dynamic Earth for the definition of local geodetic datums.
  2. Apply gravity-based coordinate reference systems (physical geodesy) for defining and comparing heights and height datums.
  3. Integrate and analyse measurements from terrestrial and space-based measurement systems to generate coordinates in terms of coordinate reference frames.
  4. Generate, apply and assess transformations between local and global coordinate frames.

Overview of Learning Activities

In this course you will be involved in a series of lectorials, tutorials, class tests and assignment projects. You will work both individually and in groups on assignments that are designed to apply knowledge gained in lectorials and tutorials; build your skills in operating geodetic software and web-based services;  and gain overall experience in current geodetic practices within the geospatial and surveying industry sector.

Overview of Learning Resources

Learning resources will consist of lecture materials; online websites and databases; reference papers and texts; and software applications.
As an RMIT student you have access to extensive learning resources provided in the school and in the RMIT Library. Our library offers comprehensive services and facilities, geared to assist you in completing your studies successfully.  The Geospatial Subject Guide ( provides access to reference information. 

Overview of Assessment

This course has no hurdle requirements.

Assessment Tasks

Assessment item 1: Space & Terrestrial Geodesy Tasks
Weighting 35% (Assignments & Practical Exercises)
This assessment task supports CLOs 1, 3, 4

Assessment item 2: Physical Geodesy & Reference Frames Tasks
Weighting 25% (Assignments & Exercises)
This assessment task supports CLOs 1, 2, 4

Assessment item 3: Scientific Communication Task
Weighting 20%
This assessment task supports CLOs 1, 2, 3, 4

Assessment item 4: Class Exercises
Weighting 20%
This assessment task supports CLOs 1, 2, 3, 4