Cryosat-22-missionen undersøger klimaforandringer på jorden. (Illustration: ESA)


The divisions' main research areas are: Mapping and monitoring the cryosphere, determining and modelling the Earth's gravity field. We conduct airborne and satellite projects in geodesy and earth observation on behalf of ESA, EU and other organizations.

The division for geodynamic's scientific work is mailly about mapping and monitoring of the cryosphere by satellite, airborne and in-situ data, determining and modelling the thw Earth's gravity field in support of global and regional geodynamics, geoid determination and national gravity networks.

Geodynamics also carries out airborne and satellite projects in geodesy and earth observation on behalf of ESA, EU and international geodetic organizations. And we manage DTU Space's role in the Danish Continental Shelf Project through provision of geophysical data and geodetic know-how.

Gravity Field Mapping:

Since 1996, the NSI has carried out extensive airborne gravity campaigns for regional gravity field determination, especially in the Arctic (Greenland, Svalbard and Canada regions), as well as dedicated projects to map the marine geoid for ocean dynamic topography estimation (North Atlantic, Baltic Sea, Azores, Greece and Australia) and minor demonstration projects for oil exploration (Italy and Svalbard). Over the years the system has been installed in a large number of different aircraft (Twin-Otter, Antonov-38, Cessna Caravan, Fokker-27, Casa-212 and others), highlighting the versatility of airborne gravity.

Recent major projects include nationwide geoid and regional gravity surveys of Malaysia (2002-3), Mongolia (2004-5), and Ethiopia (2006-7). These are challenging areas with great variations in topography, necessitating special processing for downward continuation of airborne data and existing surface data. The NSI airborne gravity system is based on a Lacoste and Romberg ´S`-type marine gravimeter, modified for airborne use by ZLS Corporation, and augmented by a medium-grade Honeywell inertial navigation system and numerous geodetic GPS receivers. During good flight conditions the system gives an accuracy of 1.5-2 mgal at 5-6 km resolution. 

The Continental Shelf:

On 29 April 2003 the Danish Parliament decided to ratify the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). This decision was later also endorsed by the Parliaments of the Faroe Islands and Greenland. Denmark ratified UNCLOS on 16 November 2004. Denmark has 10 years from this date to put forward any claims to extend the outer limits of its continental shelf beyond 200 nautical miles. Five potential claim areas have been identified off the Faroe Islands and Greenland, potentially including the North Pole.

In order to provide a database of the necessary information, the Danish Continental Shelf Project has been launched by the Ministry for Science, Technology and Innovation in co-operation with the Faroese and Greenland home rule governments. The project is a co-operation between various institutions in Denmark, the Faroe Islands and Greenland. The main tasks of the Continental Shelf Project are to identify potential claim areas and to acquire, interpret and document the necessary data for a submission to the United Nations. We support the project by ensuring accurate GPS-measurements and intepreting data from satellites measuring gravity and ice cover.


René Forsberg
Professor, Head of Geodynamics
DTU Space
+45 45 25 97 19


Sine Munk Hvidegaard
Senior Advisor
DTU Space
+45 45 25 97 72