University of Alaska Fairbanks
Department of Geosciences

GEOS F493 / F693 - Geodetic Methods

GEOS F493/F693 - Geodetic Methods



Theory and application of modern geodetic tools to measure Earth's surface deformation with emphasis on GPS and InSAR. Data processing from raw data to kinematic products. Evaluation of signals and modeling of their sources. Applications range magma system characterization and analysis of slip during an earthquake to interseismic strain analysis and evaluation of changes in the hydrosphere such as glacial melt, seasonal precipitation effects and ground water level monitoring. Class includes 2 field trips to nearby sites early in the semester for GPS campaign deployments and data collection.


Linear Algebra (MATH 314), some programming experience (e.g., GEOS F436), or consent of instructor

Required Text:

No textbook required, but required readings will be posted on the class website / blackboard.


There will be approx. 6 homework assignments roughly every two to three weeks throughout the semester. Many of these assignments will require you to write code and produce computational results using MATLAB or Python (preferred). This software is available in the computer labs across campus or you may purchase a student copy of MATLAB (Python is free).

You will participate in weekly lab assignments. A lab report will be due at the beginning of the following lab period (except for the last lab, which will be due at the end of the week).

Graduate students will prepare and present a term project in the form of an expository term paper of roughly 10-12 pages. The topic of this project should be related to the course content and objectives and should involve some data processing, modeling and interpretation. You might apply techniques from the course to process, analyze and interpret data that you have gathered in your research, or you might choose one of the provided projects. If you choose thesis related work, it must be a new aspect; recycling of existing work is not permitted. Your topic must be approved by the instructor before you begin to work on it. After about 2/3 of the semester a complete the term paper is due. This version is graded on completeness, not correctness.


Undergraduate Students: Homework: 25%, Labs: 75%.
Graduate Students: Homework: 15%, Labs: 45%, Term Project 40%.

Grades will be assigned for each lab and homework assignment based upon assignment completeness and accuracy in the form of absolute scores. Final grade is average of individual exercise grades, weighted as specified above. Unless otherwise noted, assignments will be due one week after they are assigned – they must be submitted prior to the beginning of subsequent lab period. Assignments are due electronically via blackboard. Assignments will not be accepted late. There are no exams in this class.

I follow the University of Alaska Fairbanks Incomplete Grade Policy, which states that the letter "I" (Incomplete) is a temporary grade used to indicate that the student has satisfactorily completed (C or better) the majority of work in a course but for personal reasons beyond the student’s control, such as sickness, has not been able to complete the course during the regular semester. Negligence or indifference are not acceptable reasons for an "I" grade.

Lecture Schedule and Materials

Week 1 August 26 Lecture 1 Introduction, Logistics, Applications
August 28 LAB 1 No Lab
August 30 Homework 1 due (5 PM AKDT)
Week 2 September 02 Labor Day
September 04 LAB 2 Getting accounts set up (geodesy lab), Shell, Make a plot
Week 3 September 09 Lecture 2 Geodetic Instrumentation Overview and Basics of GPS
September 11 LAB 3Coordinate Conversion
Week 4 September 16 Lecture 3 Linear Algebra review, GPS: Pseudorange Position Estimation
September 18 LAB 4 Pseudorange Estimation
Week 5 September 23 Lecture 4 GPS: Phase Positioning and Noise
September 25 LAB 5Work on projects, finish last lab.
Week 6 September 30 5 minute pitches Pitch your project idea to the rest of the class.
September 30 Lecture 5 GPS: Kinematic and Exotic Processing
October 02 LAB 6 GPS Position Processing
Week 7 October 07 Lecture 6 InSAR: Intro, Interferogram Generation
October 09 LAB 7 GPS Kinematic Processing
October 11 Homework 2 due (5 PM AKDT)
Week 8 October 14 Lecture 7 InSAR: Topography & Phase Unwrapping
October 16 LAB 8 InSAR Analysis w/ GMTSAR
Week 9 October 21 Lecture 8 InSAR Time Series & Parameter Estimation (in a nutshell)
October 23 LAB 9 InSAR Time Series Analysis
October 25 Optional (local only): RG to give Geosciences Department seminar 3:30-4:30 pm AKDT
Week 10 October 28 Lecture 9 Strain
October 30 LAB 10 InSAR Time Series Analysis 2
November 01 Homework 3 due (5 PM AKDT)
November 03 Alaska Daylight Savings Time ENDS! (1 hr back)
Week 11 November 04 Lecture 10 Plate Kinematics & Slip on Faults(video or remote, Grapenthin out)
November 06 LAB 11 Fitting Time Series (video or remote, Grapenthin out)
Week 12 November 11 Lecture 11 Slip on Faults, Earthquakes, Volcano Deformation
November 13 LAB 12 Fitting Time Series w/ CATS
November 15 Term Paper due (5 PM AKST)
Week 13 November 18 Lecture 12 Applications III: Surface Loading
November 20 LAB 13Pressure Source Modeling
Week 14 November 25 Lecture 13 Applications IV: Reflectometry
November 27 Thanksgiving is tomorrow, no lab. Work on term projects instead.
Week 15 December 02 Term Paper presentations
December 04 LAB 13 (due at end of lab!)GMT 6.0
December 06 Term paper due, hw4 due (5 PM AKST)
Week 16 December 09-14 no class, finals week

rgrapenthin <at> alaska <dot> edu | Last modified: December 04 2019 20:05.