Acronym: "SOFIA”

Project title: Enhancement of Crete’s potential for a dedicated calibration facility for satellite radar altimeters and for tectonic deformation monitoring using continuously operating geodetic arrays.

Grant agreement No.: FP7-REGPOT-2008-1-229885


The Laboratory of Geodesy and Geomatics Engineering (GeoMatLab) in the Technical University of Crete, Greece, is a dynamic and developing scientific entity on a European and international scale. The primary focus of its research activities are on the Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS), on satellite geodesy and deformation monitoring, on quality control algorithms and software for geodetic data, and on satellite altimetry calibration and validation.



On the small island Gavdos, 40 km south of Crete, a permanent calibration facility for satellite radar altimeters has been established in 2001 and has been operational as of 2004. The location of the frontier land of Gavdos constitutes a strategic point for the calibration of satellite altimeters on a world level, and also for monitoring absolute sea level and climate change on a continuous and long-term basis.

The objectives of the SOFIA project are as follows:

  1. The first objective is to develop strategic partnerships with well established European research entities to exchange know-how and experiences in calibrating satellite altimeters; in automating the monitoring of crustal deformation of West Crete using the existing GNSS arrays; and in replacing expensive radiometric measurements with dedicated instruments at Gavdos Cal/Val site with the GPS zenith troposphere delays.
  2. The second objective is to enhance the Gavdos Cal/Val present capabilities by developing new calibrating instruments and procedures, so that GeoMatLab is prepared for the calibration of future altimeters, such as the European Cryosat-2 and Sentinel-3, through a collaboration with the European Space Agency;
  3. The third objective is to reinforce its research potential by recruiting researchers: to carry out research on abrupt change detection methodology and software development and to enhance satellite altimetry calibration procedures and instruments;
  4. The fourth objective is to perform dissemination and promotional activities to increase GeoMatLab’s visibility.