Geodesy in the 21st Century



From flat Earth, to round Earth, to a rough and oblate Earth, people's understanding of the shape of our planet and its landscapes has changed dramatically over the course of history. These advances in geodesy—the study of Earth's size, shape, orientation, and gravitational field, and the variations of these quantities over time—developed because of humans' curiosity about the Earth and because of geodesy's application to navigation, surveying, and mapping, all of which were very practical areas that benefited society.