Milestone reached on Svalbard

The Norwegian Mapping Authority’s new geodetic Earth observatory at Ny Ålesund in the Svalbard islands is taking shape, with the first stage completed just over a year after construction began.

This means that the new instrument building is now ready to receive the antennas which will be used to measure the planet’s motions and changes.

Jan Tore Sanner, Norway’s minister of local government and modernisation, drove in the first pile for the observatory at 79°N in October 2014.

Constructor Veidekke Arctic has been working since then to construct the station area at the Brandallaguna site outside Ny Ålesund.

Antennas next spring

This job has been completed, and the NMA is on schedule to receive the antennas for installation next spring. The observatory is scheduled for completion in 2018.
“Now that Veidekke has completed the first phase, we can really see the new era taking shape at Brandallaguna,” says Per Erik Opseth, head of the NMA’s Geodetic Institute. “This is great news for geodesy and for the international network we belong to.”

The NMA observatory is the northernmost facility of its kind, and represents one component in a worldwide network for observation and research.

UN resolution

This commitment at Ny-Ålesund is also a topic at the UN, and the General Assembly resolution A Global Geodetic Reference Frame for Sustainable Development, adopted on 26 February 2015 will help to strengthen collaboration on global geodesy. The Global Geodetic Reference Frame (GGRF) Working Group is now working on the development of a roadmap that will describe how governments can contribute to the sustainability and enhancement of the Global Geodetic Reference Frame.

Link to animation movie about NMA's Geodetic Earth Observatory at Ny-Ålesund, Svalbard:


This document has been provided by the Communicational and Outreach Branch of the International Association of Geodesy.