As coastal communities are increasingly affected by sea level rise and flooding from extreme weather events, and as less evident (yet significant) tectonic shifts reshape the North American continent, the need for elevation data that are accurate, consistent, updated, and easily accessible has become critical. Currently, however, the vertical datums in North America are defined by tide gauge and leveling observations, which inevitably become outdated and are costly to replace or repeat. Therefore, two North American governments (Canada and United States) have resolved that the next generation of their national vertical datums will be geoid- based and accessible through Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) technology.
To adequately serve as the reference surface for a future vertical datum, the geoid must be modeled accurately and its changes over time must be monitored. But what mix of tools and techniques could fulfill this requirement? To address this question and to plan for a campaign to monitor North American geoid change, experts from North America (including United States, Canada, and Mexico) and Europe specializing in satellite and terrestrial gravimetry as well as satellite positioning convened in Colorado.