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J Geod (2010) 84:31–50

DOI 10.1007/s00190-009-0342-1
ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Global optimization of core station networks for space geodesy:
application to the referencing of the SLR EOP with respect
to ITRF
David Coulot · Arnaud Pollet · Xavier Collilieux ·
Philippe Berio
Received: 17 December 2008 / Accepted: 24 August 2009 / Published online: 10 September 2009
© Springer-Verlag 2009
Abstract We apply global optimization in order to optimize
the referencing (and consequently the stability) of the Earth
Orientation Parameters (EOP) with respect to ITRF2005.
These EOP are derived at a daily sampling from SLR data,
simultaneously with weekly station positions. The EOP ref-
erencing is carried out with minimum constraints applied
weekly to the three rotations and over core station networks.
Our approach is based on a multi objective genetic algo-
rithm, a particular stochastic global optimization method,
the reference systemeffects being the objectives to minimize.
We thus use rigorous criteria for the optimal weekly core sta-
tion selection. The results evidence an improvement of 10%
of the stability for Polar Motion (PM) series in comparison
to the results obtained with the network specially designed
for EOP referencing by the Analysis Working Group of the
International Laser Ranging Service. This improvement of
nearly 25µas represents 50% of the current precision of the
IERS 05 C04 PM reference series. We also test the possibil-
ity of averaging the weekly networks provided by our algo-
rithm (the Genetically Modified Networks—GMN) over the
whole time period. Although the dynamical nature of the
GMN is clearly a key point of their success, we can derive
such a global mean core network, which could be useful
Electronic supplementary material The online version of this
article (doi:10.1007/s00190-009-0342-1) contains supplementary
material, which is available to authorized users.
D. Coulot (B) · A. Pollet · X. Collilieux
IGN/LAREG et ENSG, 6 et 8 Avenue Blaise Pascal,
Cité Descartes, Champs-sur-Marne,
77455 Marne la Vallée Cedex 2, France
e-mail: David.Coulot@ign.fr
P. Berio
Observatoire de la Côte d’Azur, Boulevard de l’Observatoire,
B.P. 4229, 06304 Nice Cedex 4, France
for practical applications regarding EOP referencing. Using
this latter core network moreover provides more stable EOP
series than the conventional network does.
Keywords Global optimization · Earth orientation
parameters · Minimum constraints · Core station networks ·
Genetic algorithms · Satellite laser ranging
1 Introduction
In this paper, we apply global optimization to find, each week
andamongall the available stations, the stationnetworks over
which apply MinimumConstraints (MC) in order to produce
the best referencedEarthOrientationParameter (EOP) series.
We focus on a current space geodetic data processing provid-
ing station positions and EOP. In the literature related to opti-
mization, such a problem is a subset problem (Leguizamón
and Michalewicz 1999). Improving the EOPreferencing with
respect to any given Terrestrial Reference Frame (TRF) aims
to improve the stability and, consequently, the quality of EOP
time series. In particular, we aimto guarantee the consistency
of the estimated EOPamong the different epochs at which the
referencingis carriedout, onthe basis of MC. Indeed, some of
the primary tasks of the International Earth Rotation and Ref-
erence Systems Service (IERS) are (i) to ensure consistency
between its three major reference products, the International
Terrestrial Reference Frame (ITRF), the International Celes-
tial Reference Frame (ICRF), and the EOP connecting these
two frames and (ii) to guarantee the best feasible precisions
and accuracies for these three reference products.
Regarding the first goal, the ITRF2005 computation was
recently a major step toward the consistency between the
IERS products. Indeed, for the first time, the ITRF2005 com-
bination provided the TRFtogether with consistent EOPtime
123
32 D. Coulot et al.
series, namely Polar Motion (PM) from VLBI and satellite
techniques and Universal Time (UT) and Length Of Day
(LOD) from VLBI only (Altamimi et al. 2007). This result
led to the production of the new IERS EOP time series
IERS 05 C04. The consistency of these EOP series and the
ITRF2005is nowregularlycheckedandis ensuredat the level
of 20–30µas (Altamimi et al. 2008). In comparison, Bizouard
and Gambis (2009) assess the discrepancy between the pre-
vious IERS C04 EOP time series and the ITRF2005 at the
level of 300 µas. Concerning the IERS second task, the gen-
eration of these new 05 C04 series was also the opportunity
of implementing an upgraded computation procedure. This
new method induces a great improvement of the EOP accu-
racy, nowassessed at the level of 50µas for PM(Bizouard and
Gambis 2009). Few years ago, Gambis (2004) still estimated
this latter at approximately 100µas. The natural sensitivities
of the space geodetic techniques with respect to EOP (see
Table 1 of Gambis 2004) clearly affect the quality of their
data-related EOP series; the way these EOP are referenced
may also have a significant influence.
There are currently several ways of rigorously referenc-
ing EOP series with respect to any given TRF. The first
method consists in using a stacking approach like the one
applied for ITRF2005 computation (Altamimi et al. 2007).
Indeed, this latter was generated, for the first time in the
ITRF history, from time series (weekly from satellite tech-
niques and 24-h session-wise from VLBI) of station posi-
tions and daily EOP. This approach is mainly based on the
Helmert transformation, a seven-parameter similarity—see
for instance Altamimi et al. (2002b), and on the equivalent
relations for EOP(ZhuandMueller 1983). Schematically, the
weekly seven-parameter transformations between the indi-
vidual solutions and a stacked frame—a mean global secular
frame realized in the TRF by the application of MC and/or
internal constraints—are estimated simultaneously with this
stacked frame and consistent EOP series. During the estima-
tion process, the rotations are applied to the original daily
EOP to align them with respect to the orientation of the
stacked frame. The consistency of EOP among the epochs
of the original solution is thus only guaranteed by the fact
that this computation method encompasses all the available
solutions. The second method is similar to the previous one
but does not produce a stacked frame. More precisely, this
approach consists in directly computing the seven-param-
eter transformations between the weekly solutions and the
TRF. The weekly rotations are then applied to the original
daily EOP to align them with respect to the orientation of
the TRF, in accordance with the relations derived in Zhu
and Mueller (1983). Here, only an “optimal” estimation of
the weekly rotations between the involved Terrestrial Frames
(TF) and the TRF guarantees the EOP consistency among the
epochs. The final approach directly references the daily EOP
with respect to the TRF by applying the appropriate MC at
the normal system level (Coulot et al. 2007). Indeed, MC
were mainly designed to adequately compensate for the rank
deficiencies of the normal matrices involved in any space
geodetic data processing (Sillard and Boucher 2001); but,
MC can also be used to nullify some of the transforma-
tion parameters between the TF underlying the considered
solutions and the TRF (Altamimi et al. 2002a). This last
approach is the one used for the present study. The main
issue for this method is thus to guarantee the EOP consis-
tency among epochs through the weekly application of MC,
constraints which not originally aim at optimally defining a
TF orientation. This latter point is more discussed later on,
in Sect. 2.
MC and core station networks are key issues of these
three approaches. Indeed, the simultaneous estimation of
ITRF2005 and its joined EOP provides EOP series consistent
with the orientation of this TRF. This orientation is defined
in order to get null rotation parameters at epoch 2000.0 and
null rotation rates between the ITRF2005 and the ITRF2000.
These two conditions are fulfilled by means of MC applied
over a core set of 70 stations located in 55 sites, see Fig. 9 of
Altamimi et al. (2007). This empirical core set of stations was
derived to avoid any artifact, related to any frame misdefi-
nition, in the so-computed EOP time series. Moreover, for
both first approaches, the seven-parameter transformation
computation requires realistic station position variance–
covariance matrices for the least-squares estimation. Such
variance–covariance matrices can be deduced from MC
applied on appropriate networks (Altamimi et al. 2002b).
Finally, the importance of MC and, especially, of the net-
work over which these latter are applied is clearly illustrated
later on, in Sect. 3.
The present study consists in finding the optimal SLR
weekly core networks over which apply MCto guarantee the
best achievable referencing, by means of these MC, of SLR
derived EOP with respect to ITRF2005. The SLR weekly
core networks are derived with the help of a particular sto-
chastic global optimization method, the Genetic Algorithms
(GA). These weekly networks are thus called “Genetically
Modified Networks” (GMN). We decided to first carry out
this study for the SLR technique as its tracking network is
both sparsely distributed and restricted concerning the num-
ber of stations. The first feature is a challenge regarding the
use of MC, whereas the second one preserves the application
of our algorithm based on GA from being too time consum-
ing over a long data span. The methodology developed here,
despite of its necessary tuning for SLR solutions, is general
and can be applied to other techniques.
Our aim here is in fact twofold. On one hand, our algo-
rithm is used to test whether the stability of the SLR EOP
series could be improved, on the basis of MC, with the help
of appropriate weekly core networks. On the other hand, and
in the same spirit than the core set of stations used for the
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Global optimization of core station networks 33
ITRF2005 datumrealization, we also question the possibility
of making a mean reference network emerge by averaging
the weekly GMN. Indeed, such a core network may be very
useful from a practical point of view. These two major goals
are supplemented by other results provided by our analy-
sis. These latter are linked to the choice of the criteria to
optimize, to the possible incommensurability between the
objectives optimized by our algorithm, and finally to the pos-
sible influence of some geometrical parameters on the EOP
referencing.
The first section, after a brief description of the SLR solu-
tions used for this study, discusses the definition of a TF
orientation and evidences the influence, on the EOP referenc-
ing, of the network over which MC are applied. The second
section then describes three fixed reference networks cur-
rently usable for EOP referencing and the results provided
by these three networks. The third section is fully dedicated
to global optimization: we present the choice of the objec-
tives to optimize to ensure the best EOP referencing, the
procedure developed for our issue on the basis of an existing
GA, and the inherent numerical tests. The results provided
by our algorithm are then detailed and discussed. We partic-
ularly emphasize the stability of the EOP series so produced
and the issue concerning the possible emergence of a global
fixed core network from the weekly GMN. Finally, we pro-
vide some conclusions and prospects.
2 Definition of a terrestrial frame orientation
In this section, we first briefly describe the data used for the
present study and the inherent features of the SLR network.
The Reference System Effect (RSE) and MC concepts are
then presented. Finally, the influence of MC on the EOP ref-
erencing is illustrated with numerical examples.
2.1 Data used
2.1.1 ASI solution
To carry out this study, we use the official solution (v10 ver-
sion) computed by the International Laser Ranging Service
(ILRS) (Pearlman et al. 2002) analysis centre hosted at the
Italian Spatial Agency (analysis centre named ASI). Over a
particular week, a solution consists of daily EOP (PM and
LOD), station positions for the whole available SLR track-
ing network, and possible range biases, simultaneously esti-
mated from a week of data on both LAGEOS satellites and
on both ETALON satellites. These solutions are available
in the form of SINEX files. The corresponding time span
is nearly 15years, from 12/27/1992 to 04/05/2008 inclusive.
This corresponds to exactly 797 weeks.
The strategy adopted for the computation of these solu-
tions is the one which was discussed and accepted during the
ILRS Analysis Working Group (AWG) meeting in Grasse,
France, in September 2007. This strategy is detailed in the
corresponding minutes.
1
2.1.2 SLR network features
A world-wide network of 77 stations is involved over the
considered data span of nearly 15years but the number of
stations available each week varies. On the whole, there is
a minimum number of seven stations, a maximum number
of 26 stations, and an average number of 19 stations each
week, the standard deviation being three. This points out the
dynamic nature of the involvedweeklySLRstationnetworks.
This feature concerns not only the number of available sta-
tions each week, but also the geographical distribution and
the presence of these stations. Figure 1 shows the SLR track-
ingnetwork, classifyingthe stations withrespect totheir pres-
ence duration in the weekly solutions over the whole period
of time. Among the 77 stations, only seven are available
between 75 and 100%of the time (black dots on Fig. 1): there
are three stations located in the US, three stations located in
Europe, and one station located in the West of Australia.
Finally, the quality of the SLRtracking station data is also
heterogeneous. Indeed, not all the SLR stations are equiva-
lent regarding the observation capability or the data accuracy.
This quality is moreover regularly checked and reported by
the ILRS. It is thus quite challenging to get a SLR refer-
ence network over which applying the MC. Nevertheless,
such networks exist and two of them are described later on.
Next Subsections discuss the TF orientation and illustrate the
influence of MC on EOP.
2.2 Terrestrial frame orientation
The definition of any TF orientation in fact amounts to solve
a free-network adjustment problem and must consequently
be apprehended in this general framework. The following
part is mainly based on the review of algebraic constraints
for TF datum definition by Sillard and Boucher (2001).
2.2.1 Free-network adjustment
The normal systems related to station positions involved in
any space geodesy data processing are singular. Indeed, by
nature, the space geodesy measurements do not carry all the
necessary information to define the TF underlying the station
positions. For instance, VLBI is not sensitive to the Earth’s
centre of mass whereas satellite techniques are. On one hand,
the estimation of station positions requires the definition of a
coordinate system, but, on another hand, the measurements
1
Available at http://ilrs.gsfc.nasa.gov/docs/AWG_GRASSE_
minutes_24.09.2007.pdf.
123
34 D. Coulot et al.
180°
180°
240°
240°
300°
300°


60°
60°
120°
120°
180°
180°
-80° -80°
-40° -40°
0° 0°
40° 40°
80° 80°
Fig. 1 Station network named “ASI network” in text. Each week, this
network is made up by all the stations available in the ASI solution. The
black (respectively, green, blue, and red) dots correspond to the stations
available between 75 and 100 (respectively 50 and 75, 25 and 50, and
0 and 25)% of the whole data time span
are invariant with respect to some modifications in this coor-
dinate system (Grafarend and Schaffrin 1976). For the pres-
ent case study, as it will be numerically demonstrated later on,
the geometrical invariants are the three rotations related to the
orientation of the weekly TF underlying the ASI solutions.
The problem consisting in estimating, in a least-square
sense, station positions from space geodesy measurements
has thus an infinite number of solutions (Dermanis 1994)
(with different parameter values and associated variance–
covariance matrices), and any solution of the involved sin-
gular normal system is called a free-network solution. Such
a solution belongs to the order zero, among the four orders
of network design proposed by Grafarend (1974).
The foundations of free-network adjustment were first for-
mulated by Blaha (1971) and a wealth of literature has been
published since, both on the free network concept and on
the optimal methods to compute a solution for such a sin-
gular normal equation. These mathematical methods mostly
rely on the generalized matrix inverses (Bjerhammar 1973).
On the basis of these latter, Koch (1987) provided the general
form of a free-network adjustment solution; he also dem-
onstrated that the solution of minimum norm was the one
based on the Moore–Penrose pseudo-inverse (Penrose 1956).
This particular solution is also the one with the maximum
precision.
Blaha (1982) found the same minimum norm and
maximum precision solution but with a set of minimum
constraints, in the sense defined by Schaffrin (1985); this
“minimum” characteristic is guaranteedbya relationbetween
the constraint matrix (then called the “matrix of inner con-
straint adjustment”) and the design matrix of the involved
normal system. The term “constraint” is here quite ambigu-
ous as, in fact, Blaha solved a conditional system.
These methods based on generalized matrix inverses may
provide biasedestimations of the stationpositions (Grafarend
and Schaffrin 1974). As the previous equivalence shows,
these methods in fact amount to add a regularization con-
dition to the involved normal system. But, if this condition
does not rely on the TF geometrical invariants, it may lead to
estimations fully dissociated from their physics. It is the rea-
son why Sillard and Boucher (2001) developed the concept of
RSEandMCunder the formrecommendedbythe ITRFprod-
uct centre since the ITRF2000 realization (Altamimi et al.
2002a). Both next parts briefly present these concepts and
the transformation between two TF.
2.2.2 Transformation between two terrestrial frames
The standard relation of transformation between two TF is an
Euclidian similarity based on seven parameters (the Helmert
parameters), three translations t
x
, t
y
, and t
z
, a scale factor
offset d with respect to the unit scale, and three rotations
ε
x
, ε
y
, and ε
z
(Altamimi et al. 2002b). The transformation
of the a priori position vector of station i, x
i
0
, expressed in
123
Global optimization of core station networks 35
ITRF2005, into its corresponding estimated position vector
x
i
0
+δx
i
provided by any SLR data processing, is given by
δx
i
=t +d · x
i
0
+Rx
i
0
(1)
with
δx
i
=


δx
i
δy
i
δz
i


, t =


t
x
t
y
t
z


, and R=


0 ε
z
−ε
y
−ε
z
0 ε
x
ε
y
−ε
x
0


The corresponding transformation between the daily a pri-
ori EOP set eop
j
0
(equal to the IERS 05 C04 EOP time series)
and the corresponding estimated set eop
j
0
+ δeop
j
provided
by the considered SLR data processing is deduced from the
rotations as follows (Zhu and Mueller 1983):
δeop
j
=
_
δx
j
p
δy
j
p
_
and
_
δx
j
p
= −ε
y
δy
j
p
= −ε
x
(2)
The previous relations (1) and (2) can be matricially exp-
ressed as:
δx
i
= A
i
θ and δeop
j
= D
j
ρ (3)
with
θ
T
=
_
t
x
, t
y
, t
z
, d, ε
x
, ε
y
, ε
z
_
and ρ
T
=
_
ε
x
, ε
y
_
and
A
i
=


1 0 0 x
i
0
0 −z
i
0
y
i
0
0 1 0 y
i
0
z
i
0
0 −x
i
0
0 0 1 z
i
0
−y
i
0
x
i
0
0


, D
j
=
_
0 −1
−1 0
_
From the relations (3), we can deduce the least-squares esti-
mationof the vectors θ andρ, basedrespectivelyona network
of n stations and on a vector of m EOPsets (in the current con-
figuration, the station network corresponds to a given weekly
estimation and the EOP vector corresponds to the seven daily
estimations of the EOP sets over the considered week),
_
ˆ
θ =
_
A
T

−1
A
_
−1
A
T

−1
δx
ˆ ρ =
_
D
T

−1
D
_
−1
D
T

−1
δeop
(4)
with
δx =



δx
1
.
.
.
δx
n


⎠, A =



A
1
.
.
.
A
n


⎦, var(δx) = ,
δeop =



δeop
1
.
.
.
δeop
m


⎠, D =



D
1
.
.
.
D
m


⎦, and var(δeop) =
2.2.3 Reference system effects and minimum constraints
The RSE concept was introduced by Sillard and Boucher
(2001) for TRF, namely sets of station positions and
velocities. The main goal of this concept is to identify the
geometrical invariants of any TF,
2
with respect to any given
measurement set. This identification aims to add the only
necessary constraints to the considered singular normal sys-
tem, without spoiling the underlying physics. With the help
of these constraints, a solution is then estimated in the “free-
network adjustment” framework. The formulation of RSE is
mainly based on the S-transformations, first introduced by
Baarda (1973). This statistical concept was generalized to
EOP by Coulot et al. (2007), independently from any equiv-
alent MC concept.
From a numerical point of view, to get these quantities,
we need to compute loosely constrained solutions, i.e. to add
loose constraints
3
to the normal systems involved in order
to make them invertible. The ASI weekly solutions pres-
ently used are loosely constrained solutions with a priori
standard deviations of 100m for station positions and of
equivalent values for EOP(PMand LOD). The relations link-
ing the RSE and the variance–covariance matrices and
of, respectively, the station positions and the EOP are (Sillard
and Boucher 2001; Coulot et al. 2007):
_
=
inner
+ A.
θ
.A
T
,
θ
=
_
A
T

−1
A
_
−1
=
inner
+ D.
θ
.D
T
,
θ
=
_
D
T

−1
D
_
−1
(5)
The matrices
θ
and
θ
are the RSE, respectively,
deduced from the station positions and the EOP. The matri-
ces A and D are defined in previous Eqs. (3) and (4). Going
back to Eq. (4), we see that these effects are just the variance–
covariance matrices of the estimations of the transformation
parameters between the loosely constrained and the a pri-
ori solutions. The fuzzy defined global parameters (the geo-
metrical invariants for the measurements) are then the ones
evidencing large formal errors (root squares of the diagonal
elements of the matrices
θ
and
θ
). Moreover, the matrices

inner
and
inner
are commonlycalledthe “inner noises” and
directly correspond to the real quality of space geodesy tech-
niques in providing station positions and EOP. Regarding the
station positions, this name directly comes from the work of
Meissel (1965) on inner error theory for geodetic networks.
We finally must specify that the two decompositions (5) are
unique.
According to Sillard and Boucher (2001), once the fuzzy
defined global parameters are identified with the help of
RSE, there are several ways to access to the inner precision

inner
(and thus to the minimum norm and maximum preci-
sion free-network solution). One of these (quite equivalent)
approaches is the application of MC. The MC equation can
be easily derived, thanks to the expression of the transforma-
tion between ITRF2005, x
i
0
for station i , and the estimated
2
More precisely, in the present study, one of the seven global parame-
ters t
x
, t
y
, t
z
, d, ε
x
, ε
y
, and ε
z
, see previous Subsect. 2.2.2.
3
Equality constraints to zero for some parameters with large standard
deviations.
123
36 D. Coulot et al.
positions x
i
0
+ δx
i
. By restricting the Eq. (4) to the station
positions and the estimation of the three rotations (the fuzzy
defined global parameters in the present case), we get:
ˆ
θ
ε
=
_
B
T

−1
B
_
−1
B
T

−1
δx (6)
with
θ
ε
T
=
_
ε
x
, ε
y
, ε
z
_
, δx =



δx
1
.
.
.
δx
n


⎠, B =



B
1
.
.
.
B
n


⎦,
B
i
=


0 −z
i
0
y
i
0
z
i
0
0 −x
i
0
−y
i
0
x
i
0
0


, and var(δx) =
The vector
ˆ
θ
ε
is an estimation of the three rotations
between the estimated TF and the a priori TRF. We can,
for instance, fix
ˆ
θ
ε
to zero. In fact, it corresponds to aligning
the estimated TF with respect to ITRF2005 in orientation.
The corresponding MC equation is,
mc
being the variance–
covariance matrix associated to the constraint,
_
B
T

−1
B
_
−1
B
T

−1
δx = 0 (
mc
) (7)
This equation is to be added, in its “normal” form, to the
normal system involved in the considered data processing.
Doing so thus defines the three rotations of the TF underly-
ing the estimated station positions and EOP (Altamimi et al.
2002a).
Consequently, although the primary aimof MCis to find a
minimum norm and maximum precision solution among an
infinite set of possible ones, these constraints can be twisted
to define the orientation of a given TF underlying any esti-
mated station positions and EOP. We use them in that way
in the present work. To conclude these theoretical consider-
ations, we cite the following sentence, in relation with rela-
tions (5) and the inner noise matrix, fromSillard and Boucher
(2001): it may occur that the projection over some subset of
the original set instead of the whole set of coordinates gives
better results (i.e. smaller trace of the resulting variance–
covariance matrix).
2.3 Influence of minimum constraints on EOP referencing
After providing some numerical examples related to RSEand
MC, we demonstrate here the influence of the network over
which MC are applied on the EOP referencing so obtained.
2.3.1 Numerical illustrations
Table 1 provides the RSE (translated into parameter formal
errors; it will always be the case in the following) deduced
from the relations (5) for the loosely constrained solution
(original ASI solution) of the GPS week 1,031. We remark
a slight effect for the t
z
translation, directly linked to the
sparse distribution of the SLR network. The three rotations
clearly appear as the fuzzy defined global parameters of the
TF. And the RSE values for the two first rotations are consis-
tent for station positions and EOP. Furthermore, for this par-
ticular week, the median value of the spherical errors
4
of the
estimated loosely constrained station positions is 270.7mm.
This is clearly not the precision of the SLR positioning.
The median value of the formal errors of the estimated x
p
(respectively y
p
) pole coordinates is 5,667 (respectively
5,821) µas. All these numerical values indicate that the RSE
dominate the variance–covariance matrix of the loosely con-
strained solution. It is worth noting that the effects deduced
from the EOP variance–covariance matrices are larger than
those obtained for station positions.
We then compute a minimally constrained solution (solu-
tion computed with the application of MC at the normal
system level, after the withdrawal of the original loose con-
straints) for the same GPS week 1,031. MC are applied in
accordance with relation (7) and over the ASI network
(Fig. 1). Regarding the station positions, the median value
of the spherical errors is now 6.7mm (to compare to the pre-
vious 270.7mm value). The median value of the estimated
x
p
(respectively y
p
) formal errors is now 132 (respectively
102) µas. The application of MC clearly reduces the exist-
ing RSE, as shown in Table 1. The values of the effects on
the three rotations are clearly lower than those provided in
the same Table for the loose constrained solution. And the
effects on the translations and the scale factor have been left
unchanged. Moreover, the RSEvalues are no more consistent
for station positions and EOP variance–covariance matrices.
And, once again, the effects deduced fromthe EOP variance–
covariance matrices are larger than those obtained for station
positions. There are thus residual RSE in the EOP variance–
covariance matrices of the solutions computed with MC. This
fact was already evidenced by Coulot et al. (2007). Similar
results, regarding both loosely and minimally constrained
weekly solutions, are observed over the whole time period
of nearly 15years.
2.3.2 Importance of the referencing network
The MC(7) aimnot only to reduce the RSEevidenced for the
three rotations (and, as a consequence, to get realistic vari-
ance–covariance matrices for station positions and EOP), but
also to align the orientation of the weekly TF with respect to
ITRF2005. As a consequence, andinaccordance withEq. (2),
the estimated EOP time series are referenced in the reference
underlying the IERS 05 C04 series. Figure 2 shows, over
the period 2000.0–2001.5, the differences, with the IERS
4
σ
sph
=
_
σ
2
x

2
y

2
z
+2σ
xy
+2σ
xz
+2σ
yz
123
Global optimization of core station networks 37
Table 1 Reference system effects deduced from the variance–covariance matrices of the estimated station positions (lines “Stations”) and EOP
(lines “EOP”)
Parameters
t
x
t
y
t
z
d ε
x
ε
y
ε
z
Loose constrained solution
Stations 0.5 0.5 1.5 0.1 5,594 5,553 9,685
EOP − − − − 5,768 5,640 −
Solution with minimum constraints
Stations 0.5 0.5 1.5 0.1 21 17 7
EOP − − − − 90 117 −
The effects are provided for a solution computed with loose constraints (original ASI solution) and for a solution computed with minimumconstraints
(applied to the three rotations, with respect to ITRF2005, over the ASI network, Fig. 1). Both solutions correspond to the GPS week 1,031. Only
effects regarding both first rotations can be deduced from the estimated EOP variance–covariance matrix. The effects are translated into parameter
formal errors and are given in cm for the three translations t
x
, t
y
, and t
z
, in ppb for the scale factor offset d, and in µas for the three rotations ε
x
, ε
y
,
and ε
z
2000 2000.5 2001 2001.5
−3
−2
−1
0
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
x 10
4
Year
x
p

(



µ

)

s

a



Fig. 2 Differences between the x
p
pole coordinate daily series com-
puted with loose constraints (original ASI solution, dashed line) and
the IERS 05 C04 series versus the similar differences for the x
p
daily
series computed with minimumconstraints (solid line), in 10
4
µas, over
the period 2000.0–2001.5. The minimum constraints are applied to the
three rotations, with respect to ITRF2005, over the ASI network, Fig. 1
05 C04 series, of the estimated x
p
pole coordinate daily
series. These daily series are respectively provided by the
loose constrained solution (the original ASI solution) and
by the solution computed with MC applied over the ASI net-
work. The differences for the loose constrained series appear
to be successions of steps, these latter corresponding to the
weeks of estimation (similar results are observed for the y
p
pole coordinate). Over the whole time period, the weighted
mean and standard deviation values of these difference series
are, respectively, 53,432 and 129,451µas. On the other hand,
the minimally constrained solution is clearly more stable.
Indeed, over the whole time period, the weighted mean and
standard deviation values of the corresponding difference
series are, respectively, 3 and 324 µas.
Figure 3 shows, over the period 2000.0–2001.5, the differ-
ences between the estimated y
p
pole coordinate daily series
provided by solutions computed with MC. These MC are
respectively applied over the ASI network (Fig. 1) and the
network recommended by the ILRS AWG for EOP refer-
encing. As on Fig. 2 for the loose constrained series, the
difference time series are successions of weekly steps. The
difference between both time series thus mainly comes from
the referencing carried out each week of estimation (similar
results are observed for the x
p
pole coordinate). Over the
whole time period, the weighted mean and standard devia-
tion values of these differences are, respectively, −43 and
228 µas. It is worth noting that the Weighted Root Mean
Square (WRMS
5
) of the post fit PM residuals resulting from
the ITRF2005 combination is approximately 130 µas for the
ILRS SLR combined solution (Altamimi et al. 2008).
The reference network used for the application of MC
is thus of great importance for the referencing and, conse-
quently, for the stability of the daily EOP series estimated
with the weekly station position series. The application of
global optimization aims to improve this stability by pro-
viding, each week, the optimal reference network for the
application of MC.
Before going through this issue, we present hereafter, in
the next section, the results produced with three networks:
the ASI, IGN, and ILRS networks. Both latter networks can
be used for EOP referencing. In the following, these results
will be used as reference ones for comparison with those
produced with our algorithm.
5
Considering a random set (x
i
)
1≤i ≤n
with associated standard devia-
tions (σ
i
)
1≤i ≤n
, the WMRS is defined as
_

i
x
2
i
σ
2
i
_
_

i
1
σ
2
i
.
123
38 D. Coulot et al.
2000 2000.5 2001 2001.5
−800
−600
−400
−200
0
200
400
600
800
Year
y
p
(

s
e
c
n
e
r
e
f
f
i
d

µ
)
s
a
Fig. 3 Differences between the y
p
pole coordinate daily solution com-
puted with minimum constraints applied over the ASI network (Fig. 1)
and the y
p
daily solution computed with minimum constraints applied
over the network recommended by the ILRS analysis working group for
EOP referencing, in µas, over the period 2000.0–2001.5. The minimum
constraints are applied to the three rotations, with respect to ITRF2005
3 State-of-the-art: usual core station networks
This section presents the three ASI, ILRS, and IGNnetworks
and the results produced with these networks regarding the
EOP referencing and the station position time series.
3.1 Reference networks and quality criteria
The three reference networks used for carrying out some
comparisons with the networks provided by our algorithm
are called the ASI, ILRS, and IGNnetworks. They are respec-
tively shown on Figs. 1, 4 and 5.
As previously mentioned in Sect. 2.1, the ASI network
is made up by all the stations available in the ASI solution
each week. Consequently, it cannot really be considered as a
reference network designed to optimally apply MC. Never-
theless, as it is the most obvious usable network for the MC
application, we keep it for comparisons.
The IGN network is based on 16 stations. This network is
not particularly designed for EOPreferencing but is routinely
used by the ITRF product centre, at the Institut Géographi-
que National (IGN), to apply MC during any SLR solution
stacking with CATREF software (Altamimi Z, private com-
munication, 2008).
Finally, the third network (the ILRS network) is based on
21 stations. But, among these 21 stations, only 13 stations
can be considered over the whole time period (black dots on
Fig. 5), the other eight stations (green dots) being only usable
over given time periods. This network was designed by the
ILRS AWGfor EOP referencing and is currently named “the
ILRS list of core sites”. It can thus be considered as the cur-
rent conventional core station network to use for SLR EOP
referencing. Rigorously speaking, the station 7810 (Zimmer-
wald, Switzerland) can only be considered as a core station
regarding its measurements carried out in the blue wave-
length. We do not work here directly at the observation level,
and, as this station is one of the most effective of the ILRS
tracking network, we decided to consider this station as a
core one over the period recommended by the ILRS AWG.
180°
180°
240°
240°
300°
300°


60°
60°
120°
120°
180°
180°
-80° -80°
-40° -40°
0° 0°
40° 40°
80° 80°
Fig. 4 Station network named “IGN network” in text. This network is based on 16 stations. Each week, it is made up by all the stations, taken
from these 16, available in the ASI solution
123
Global optimization of core station networks 39
180°
180°
240°
240°
300°
300°


60°
60°
120°
120°
180°
180°
-80° -80°
-40° -40°
0° 0°
40° 40°
80° 80°
Fig. 5 Station network named “ILRS network” in text. This network
is based on 21 stations among which only 13 stations (black dots) can
be considered over the whole time span. The other eight stations (green
dots) can only be considered over given periods of time. Each week, this
network is made up by all the stations, taken from these 21, available
in the ASI solution
Both IGN and ILRS networks sound like fixed networks
but it is not the case. Indeed, each week, due to the dynamic
nature of the SLR network, the corresponding networks are
in fact made up by all the stations, taken from the fixed lists
of stations, available in the ASI solution.
As the geographical distribution of the stations is obvi-
ouslya primaryqualitycriterionof anyreference network, we
develop a distribution quality criterion. To assess the distri-
bution of the stations composing a given network, we use the
coordinates of the Centre of Network (CN), i.e. the isobary-
centre of the network, expressedinITRF2005. The more min-
imal the absolute values of these coordinates are, the more
reliable is the distribution of the corresponding SLRnetwork.
This assertion should of course be moderated regarding dense
networks. In the present case, this is true only because more
than 80%of the SLRstations are located at mid-latitude posi-
tions (see Fig. 1).
This criterion can be summed up by a unique quantity, the
distance fromthis CNto the origin of ITRF2005 d
CN
, which,
for a network of n stations, is expressed as:
∀c ∈ {x, y, z}, ¯ c =
1
n
n

i =1
c
i
, d
CN
=
_
¯ x
2
+ ¯ y
2
+ ¯ z
2
(8)
x
i
, y
i
, z
i
designating the cartesian coordinates of the station
i in the ITRF2005 solution, computed at the 2000.0 refer-
ence epoch. Table 2 gives the mean and standard deviation
values of the weekly numbers of stations and of the CNcoor-
dinates for the three reference networks. It is worth noting
that the numbers of stations are both lower and more sta-
ble for the IGN and ILRS networks. Moreover, no network
simultaneously optimizes the three CN coordinates, above
all the ASI network that minimizes none of them. The large
mean values obtained for the CN z coordinates obviously
come from the heterogeneous distribution of the SLR net-
work between both hemispheres.
Inorder totest the stabilityof a givenweeklynetwork, over
a long time period, we finally introduce the “mean presence”
criterion defined as follows. We first define the presence of a
station over the considered data time span by:
presence =
occurrence in the ASI network
797
× 100 (9)
For a given weekly network, made up of m stations, the mean
presence of the network is just the mean value of all individ-
ual indicators presence
i
,
1
m

m
i =1
presence
i
, expressed in %.
A high mean presence value thus shows that the considered
weekly network is made up by stations regularly present in
the ASI solution.
3.2 Results produced with the reference networks
As noticed in Gambis (2004), the precision of any product
is directly linked to the stability or the reproductibility of
a given data set whereas the accuracy mainly corresponds
123
40 D. Coulot et al.
Table 2 Weekly numbers of available stations and Centre of Network (CN) coordinates (mean ±standard deviation values) for the three reference
networks ASI, IGN, and ILRS
Network
ASI IGN ILRS
Numbers of stations 19 ±3 11 ±2 12 ±2
CN x coordinates 1.88 ±0.58 1.25 ±0.66 1.13 ±0.50
CN y coordinates 0.36 ±0.66 −0.07 ±0.64 −0.27 ±0.93
CN z coordinates 2.83 ±0.42 3.13 ±0.32 2.69 ±0.38
The CN coordinates are expressed in 1,000km and the corresponding minimum statistical values are evidenced in bold
to an external estimation of the quality of the considered
product with respect to the “true” value of this latter. Thus,
biases, drifts, and WRMS with respect to reference series are
commonly used to assess the quality of EOP series (Gambis
2004; Bizouard and Gambis 2009). The WRMS is particu-
larly used as an accuracy or, more precisely, as an inaccuracy
assessment quantity. For the present study, we decided to use
the WRMS of the differences between the computed series
and the IERS 05 C04 series, which is dominated by the GPS
PM. We consider it as a mixed precision/inaccuracy assess-
ment quantity, the precision (with the meaning of stability)
being more rigorously provided by the weighted standard
deviation.
The statistics of the results produced with the reference
networks ASI, IGN, and ILRS, are provided in Table 3.
For each of these three networks, weekly station position
solutions are computed with the application of MC to the
three rotations, with respect to ITRF2005, over the consid-
ered network. Daily EOP(PMand LOD) series are computed
together with these station positions.
First, Table 3 provides the statistics of the results linked
to the EOP time series: the formal errors of these series,
the residual RSE for both rotations ε
x
and ε
y
deduced from
the second relation of Eq. (5), Sect. 2.2, the rotations esti-
mated with respect to the IERS05 C04 series according to the
second relation of Eq. (4), and the bias, drift, weighted stan-
dard deviation, and WRMSvalues of the differences between
these series and the IERS 05 C04 series.
According to all these results, the ILRS network appears
to be the best network for the application of MC. Indeed, its
use induces the largest reduction of the residual RSE (first
lines of Table 3). Moreover, it provides the most stable EOP
time series, concerning both residual rotations with respect to
the IERS 05 C04 series and the weighted standard deviations
of the difference series (last lines of Table 3).
Regarding the bias values, we note a significant bias with
respect to the IERS 05 C04 series for the y
p
pole coordinate
for all the computed series. According to Gambis (2004), the
EOP series provided by the different space geodetic tech-
niques are heterogeneous, these inconsistencies being mainly
modeled by biases and drifts. Moreover, the same can be said
for different solutions computedfromthe data of a giventech-
nique, according to Table8 of the article above-mentioned.
Indeed, for the three SLR solutions studied in this article,
the x
p
and y
p
biases range from −366 to 110 µas. The bias
evidenced in our y
p
series is most probably due to any incon-
sistency intrinsic to the ASI solution used here. And there is
no reason to see it disappear, even if it seems that it can
be reduced, according to the results obtained with the ASI
network. We do not consider neither the mean values of the
differences of the EOP series (which are quite equivalent to
the weekly rotation mean values), nor the drift values, as real
quality indicators.
Independentlyfromthe studyconductedwithEOP, Table 4
provides the statistics of the results linked to the station posi-
tion time series: the spherical errors of the series (previously
defined in Sect. 2.3), the residual RSE of the three rotations
ε
x
, ε
y
, and ε
z
, deduced from the first relation of Eq. (5), the
rotations estimated with respect to ITRF2005 according to
the first relation of Eq. (4), the CN distances d
CN
(8), and
the mean presences. Regarding the estimation of the three
rotations, it must be specified that all the seven parameters
are estimated but only the results regarding the three rota-
tions are reported here, the results for the translations and
the scale factors being unchanged. Furthermore, no station
position rejection process is carried out for these computa-
tions.
From all the results concerning both the residual rotation
RSE and the residual rotations with respect to ITRF2005, the
ASI network now appears as the best network. Indeed, it is
the network for which the RSE are the most reduced. It also
provides the most stable residual rotation series, according
to their standard deviation values. It is worth noting that, in
this case, the residual rotation mean values are quality indi-
cators; indeed, the MC consists in aligning the orientation of
the weekly TF on the orientation of ITRF2005.
Regarding the mean presence indicator, the IGN network
appears as the most stable networkover time. Indeed, this net-
work is partly designed with this requirement (Altamimi Z,
private communication, 2008). In the opposite, the ASI
123
Global optimization of core station networks 41
Table 3 Statistics of the results produced with the differences between the daily EOP series, simultaneously estimated with the weekly station
position series, and the IERS 05 C04 series
Reference network
ASI IGN ILRS
x
p
y
p
x
p
y
p
x
p
y
p
EOP series formal errors
Median value 114 118 92 92 89 87
Bound value
a
396 492 262 294 237 255
EOP series differences
Bias
b
−2 88 −26 120 −17 120
Bias formal error 4 4 4 3 4 3
Drift 5 0 9 8 7 7
Drift formal error 1 1 1 1 1 1
Weighted standard deviation 324 301 294 257 287 246
WRMS 324 314 295 286 287 275
ε
x
ε
y
ε
x
ε
y
ε
x
ε
y
Weekly rotation reference system effects
Median value 94 87 58 58 53 54
Bound value
a
427 346 235 182 194 170
Weekly rotations
c
Mean value −80 8 −124 30 −126 21
Standard deviation 336 317 250 238 216 221
The weekly solutions are computed with minimum constraints for the three rotations, applied with respect to ITRF2005, over the three reference
networks ASI, IGN, and ILRS. All values are provided in µas or in µas/a (drift values). The minimum values are evidenced in bold for the quantities
chosen as quality indicators
a
Value val such as 95% of the values are in the interval [0, val]
b
The bias value is simultaneously estimated with the drift value at the mid epoch of the whole time span (08/16/2000)
c
The rotations are estimated with respect to the IERS 05 C04 time series, using the second relation of Eq. (4)
network, made up each week by all the available stations,
evidences the lowest mean value for this criterion.
From all these results, we can conclude that the network
used for the application of the MC clearly influences the
EOP weekly referencing and, as a consequence, the stability
of the computed EOP series. Furthermore, it seems that the
network providing the best EOP referencing is not neces-
sarily the best one for the station position referencing. This
will be discussed later on. The rest of this paper is dedicated
to the application of global optimization to ensure the best
EOP weekly referencing on the basis of the MC. The next
section describes the approach used to achieve this optimal
referencing.
4 Global optimization
Global optimization methods, and, in particular, heuristics,
have been recently applied to geodetic problems. For
instance, Dare and Saleh (2000) applied optimal (for small
networks) and near-optimal (for larger networks) optimiza-
tion methods, such as simulated annealing, for GPS network
design problems. Simulated annealing was also used for the
first-order design of geodetic networks by Berné and Baselga
(2004). In the present study, we use GA. Recently, Saleh and
Chelouah (2004) used GA for designing GPS surveying net-
works, from a topometric and observational point of view.
Baselga and García-Asenjo (2008) also applied GA to solve
the GNSS double difference positioning model with robust
estimation.
GA are Evolutionary Algorithms (EA), i.e. stochastic
algorithms that emulate the evolution theory by using some
genetic operators such as chromosome selection, crossover
(recombination), and gene mutation and the rule of survival
of the fittest in probabilistic terms. The main idea of the GA
is to make subsets, called populations, of possible solutions
of a given optimization problem evolve in order to obtain
the global optimum for the problem. During the successive
generations, the individuals of the population are evaluated
with respect to their ability of optimizing the considered
123
42 D. Coulot et al.
Table 4 Statistics of the results produced with the weekly station position time series
Reference network
ASI IGN ILRS
Weekly station position spherical errors
Median value 7 6 6
Bound value
a
56 52 51
Weekly CN distances d
CN
Mean value 3.11 3.50 3.11
Standard deviation 0.47 0.33 0.42
Weekly mean presence
Mean value 58.7 76.3 71.3
Standard deviation 4.8 5.2 3.8
ε
x
ε
y
ε
z
ε
x
ε
y
ε
z
ε
x
ε
y
ε
z
Weekly rotation reference system effects
Median value 14 17 5 15 21 5 14 19 6
Bound value
a
29 34 10 33 37 11 41 36 12
Weekly rotations
b
Mean value 32 −19 3 55 −1 −1 50 4 2
Standard deviation 116 122 38 131 150 45 139 139 55
These series are computed, simultaneously with EOP series, with minimum constraints for the three rotations, applied with respect to ITRF2005,
over the three reference networks ASI, IGN, and ILRS. All values concerning the three rotations are provided in µas. The spherical error statistics
are provided in mm, the statistics related to the Centre of Network (CN) distances d
CN
, Eq. (8), are provided in 1,000 km, and the statistics for the
mean presences are given in %. The optimum values are evidenced in bold
a
Value val such as 95% of the values are in the interval [0, val]
b
The rotations are estimated with respect to ITRF2005, using the first relation of Eq. (4)
objective(s) and the best individuals are favored in order to
make better solutions emerge. Goldberg (1989) wrote the
first book popularizing GA. A wealth of literature has been
published since and GAhave become an active research field.
Here, we first justify the choice of the objectives to opti-
mize. We then briefly present our algorithmand the approach
we retained for the choice of the final optimal solutions
among the sets of non-dominated solutions provided by our
procedure based on a Multi Objective GA (MOGA). Text1,
electronic supplementary material, is fully dedicated to the
presentation of this procedure and of the major concepts on
which it relies; it moreover provides a concise review of
methods for handling preferences in MOGA(in other words,
for choosing the final optimal solution) and related numerical
tests.
4.1 Multiple objectives to optimize
We aim here at guaranteeing the best referencing of daily
EOP series produced together with weekly station position
solutions. This referencing is achieved with MC restricted to
the three rotations of the weekly TF with respect to
ITRF2005. These MC are completely defined through the B
matrix of Eq. (7) and, especially, through the station network
used for designing this latter. In order to assess the quality
of the derived EOP and, more particularly, their stability, we
have to choose objectives directly linked to this referencing.
As shown by the results provided in Tables 3 and 4, many
quantities depend on the network over which MCare applied:
formal errors of the EOP and station position time series,
standarddeviations (scatters) of the weeklyrotations deduced
from the EOP estimates and of the EOP time series them-
selves, as well as mean and standard deviation values of rota-
tions deduced fromthe station positions estimates, etc. Thus,
the choice spectrumis broad. But, in essence, the RSEare the
best statistical quantities to assess the MC handling. Indeed,
they are global criteria, which furthermore assess the a priori
quality of the estimations of the seven Helmert parameters.
And, finally, the MC are intrinsically based on these global
parameters.
We notice in Sect. 3 the dualismbetween the RSEdeduced
from EOP and from station position variance–covariance
matrices. But, according to the results given in Table 3, the
network providing the minimum rotation residual RSE
deduced from the EOP variance–covariance matrices
(namely, the ILRSnetwork) is the one providing the most sta-
ble EOP time series. Thus the rotation residual RSE [Eq. (5),
second relation] deduced fromthe EOP variance–covariance
123
Global optimization of core station networks 43
matrices (denoted σε
eop
x
and σε
eop
y
, in the following) appear
as the best suited objectives regarding the EOP referencing.
From a strictly geometrical point of view, we must also
keep the residual RSEon the third rotation [σε
sta
z
, see Eq. (5),
first relation] provided by the station position variance-
covariance matrices as a possible objective to optimize.
Indeed, the SLR loose constrained solutions evidence resid-
ual RSE for the three rotations (see Table 1) and not only for
both rotations ε
x
and ε
y
. And these solutions do not provide
UT but its time derivative LOD, which is not directly linked
to the third rotation ε
z
. Consequently, this third rotation resid-
ual RSE, σε
sta
z
, is only accessible through the station position
variance-covariance matrices.
We have three objectives to minimize: σε
eop
x
, σε
eop
y
, and
σε
sta
z
. When dealing with multiple objectives, a classical
approach, in the EA framework, consists in aggregating all
these objectives in one single scalarizing objective func-
tion, such as a weighted sum of the objectives for example.
But, serious drawbacks have been proven for these methods
and, regarding Multi Objective Optimization (MOO), the EA
community mostly favors the approaches relying on Pareto
dominance relation (Knowles and Corne 2004). Considering
a minimization problem with m objective functions f
i
, this
dominance relation is defined by (Coello Coello 2005)
x y ⇐⇒
_
∀i ∈ {1, . . . , m} f
i
(x) ≤ f
i
(y)
∃ j ∈ {1, . . . , m} / f
j
(x) < f
j
(y)
(10)
Such an approach does not provide the user with a single
optimal solution, but with a set of non-dominated solutions,
called the Pareto optimal set (Konak et al. 2006). Moreover,
this optimal set can help the user, not only to study the rela-
tionships among the objectives, but also to gain insights about
the inherent structure of the problem at hand (Ulrich et al.
2008). For all these reasons, we decided to design an algo-
rithm on the basis of an existing MOGA and, consequently,
to consider independently the three objectives σε
eop
x
, σε
eop
y
,
and σε
sta
z
. This moreover avoids the necessity of specifying
weights, normalizing objectives, etc., as noted by Knowles
and Corne (2004).
4.2 Algorithm used
Konak et al. (2006) provide an overviewand a tutorial on GA
specifically developed for problems with multiple objectives,
the so-called MOGA. These authors made an inventory of 13
famous existing MOGAand, among them, we chose the spe-
cific algorithm NSGA-II (Deb et al. 2002). Indeed, NSGA-II
is one of the most popular MOGA of the so-called second
generation, which has moreover become a landmark (Coello
Coello 2006).
Each week, on the basis of NSGA-II, our algorithm
searches, among all the possible networks usable to build the
B matrix of Eq. (7) with at least three stations, those which
provide the best compromises between the three objectives
σε
eop
x
, σε
eop
y
, and σε
sta
z
. In order to improve the convergence
of our approach, our algorithm in fact relies, each week, on
two runs of NSGA-II. The first run aims at providing a dis-
tance boundary in the objective space. This distance is then
used in the second run for concentrating the search on the
most interesting solutions, regarding EOP referencing. But,
for the weekly solutions comprising a number of available
stations between seven and 11,
6
the Pareto optimal sets are
directly found among all possible solutions on the basis of
(10). Thus, using GAis not necessary for those cases. For the
other weeks, our algorithm based on NSGA-II is used, with
settings tuned with respect to the number of available stations
in the network. Finally, we use 15 particular test weeks (each
week corresponding to a given number of stations between
12 and 26) for carrying convergence tests to check the effi-
ciency of our algorithm. Interested readers can refer to Text1,
where all these points are detailed.
4.3 Choice of the optimal solution
As previously noted, our algorithm supplies a set of non-
dominated solutions, the so-called Pareto optimal set. This
thus raises the issue of the choice of the final optimal solu-
tion in this Pareto optimal set. Paradoxally, little attention has
been paid to the decision making process required to select
this optimal solution (Coello Coello 2000), even if the situa-
tion seems to have recently evolved, at least regarding the a
priori methods (Cvetkovi´ c and Coello Coello 2004).
The Pareto optimal sets provided each week by both runs
of our two-step procedure permitted us to carry out numerous
tests regarding this issue of the final optimal solution selec-
tion. Some of them are described in Text1 (in particular, see
Tables 8, 9, 10, 11). We just report here the most important
results.
First, choosing the optimal solution (in the Pareto optimal
set) as the one optimizing one particular objective σε
eop
x
,
σε
eop
y
, or σε
sta
z
, proves the incommensurability of σε
sta
z
with
both σε
eop
x
and σε
eop
y
criteria. Indeed, the WRMS of the dif-
ferences between the so-obtained EOP and the IERS 05 C04
series are 302 and 294 µas, respectively, for x
p
and y
p
, when
σε
sta
z
is the choice criterion, against 277 (respectively 266)
and 243 (respectively 251) µas, when σε
eop
x
(respectively
σε
eop
y
) is the choice criterion.
Second, the results are not drastically modified when the
optimal solution selection relies on the minimization of the
CN distance d
CN
(8), the maximization of the number of sta-
tions involved in the network, or the maximization of the
weekly mean presence (9). This certainly proves that the
6
These particular solutions only represent 1.25%of the 797 considered
weeks.
123
44 D. Coulot et al.
Table 5 Weekly numbers of available stations and Centre of Network (CN) coordinates (mean ± standard deviation values) for the genetically
modified networks corresponding to the solutions GMN
opt
eop
, GMN
net
eop
, and GMN
opt
sta
Solution
GMN
opt
eop
GMN
net
eop
GMN
opt
sta
Best
Numbers of stations 8 ±2 8 ±2 6 ±2 –
CN x coordinates 0.29 ±0.54 0.47 ±0.50 −0.04 ±0.15 1.13 ±0.50
CN y coordinates −0.03 ±0.54 −0.21 ±0.50 −0.02 ±0.18 −0.07 ±0.64
CN z coordinates 1.87 ±0.89 2.18 ±0.81 0.34 ±0.57 2.69 ±0.32
The CN coordinates are expressed in 1,000km and the corresponding minimum statistical values, among the three GMN results, are evidenced in
bold. The best values obtained with the three reference networks ASI, IGN, and ILRS (Table 2) are recalled in the last column for comparison
optimization of the chosen three objectives σε
eop
x
, σε
eop
y
, and
σε
sta
z
implicitly optimizes also these station related criteria.
Finally, we tested the most commonly used a posteriori
approach, namely the weighted sum, one of the most recent
approaches, the evaluation line (Vergidis et al. 2008), and the
following intuitive geometric criterion,
d
σ
=
_
σε
eop 2
x
+ σε
eop 2
y
+σε
sta 2
z
(11)
to select the final optimal solutions among the Pareto opti-
mal sets. According to the simple preference method of de
Caritat Condorcet (1785),
7
the choice criterion providing the
best results (especially concerning the EOP referencing) is
the one relying on the d
σ
distance (11) in the objective space.
This criterion is thus the one used in the following. The next
section is dedicated to the results provided by our global
optimization approach.
5 Results
This section presents the results provided by our procedure.
We first detail the results obtained from three different GMN
solutions. Then, to test whether our algorithm would permit
to deduce a mean core network usable for the MCapplication
over a long period of time, we precisely study the networks
hidden behind the GMN.
5.1 Weekly genetically modified networks
In addition to the 10 GMN solutions computed for this study
and reported in Text1, we computed two other solutions.
We thus report here the results obtained with the three fol-
lowing GMN solutions: GMN
opt
eop
, GMN
net
eop
, and GMN
opt
sta
.
GMN
opt
eop
is the solution for which the distance d
σ
(11)
is used for the selection of the final optimal solutions.
7
Alternative A is favored over B if the number of criteria where A is
better than B is greater then the number of criteria where B is better
than A (Cvetkovi´ c and Coello Coello 2004).
This choice criterion favors both objectives σε
eop
x
and σε
eop
y
,
compared to σε
sta
z
. It thus aims to optimize the EOP
referencing.
GMN
net
eop
is based on the results of our algorithm with
respect to the three objectives σε
eop
x
, σε
eop
y
, and σε
sta
z
, but
with an optimum solution choice criterion different from
the one of solution GMN
opt
eop
. Here, for each solution of the
Paretooptimal set, we compute the d
CN
distance (8), the mean
presence, and the number of stations nbrst a. On the basis
of these new three objectives and with the Pareto dominance
relation (10), we compute a new Pareto optimal set. Finally,
amongthis newoptimal subset, the optimal solutionis chosen
on the basis of the evaluation line approach (Vergidis et al.
2008) carried out with respective weights of 1 for the oppo-
site of the mean presence and 2 for both d
CN
and −nbrst a
values. This solution thus aims at making the most stable
global core network emerge from the weekly GMN, with
reasonable geographical distribution and number of stations.
Finally, GMN
opt
sta
is equivalent to the solution GMN
opt
eop
, but
based on the three objectives σε
sta
x
, σε
sta
y
, and σε
sta
z
and the
equivalent distance d
σ
computed with these latter objectives.
This last solution aims at comparing the results obtained with
those produced by the GMN
opt
eop
solution.
The statistics of the results provided by these three GMN
solutions are provided in Tables 5 and 6.
5.1.1 EOP indicators
All the indicators linked to EOP are improved with the use
of the GMN
opt
eop
solution in comparison with the best values
obtained with the three reference networks ASI, IGN, and
ILRS (see Tables 3, 4).
More precisely, usingthe GMNcorrespondingtothis solu-
tion induces a great improvement of the EOP indicators in
comparison to those related to the ILRS network. Indeed, the
gains are: 24 and 23% for the median values of the formal
errors of the x
p
and y
p
series, 43% for both rotations ε
x
and
ε
y
regarding the median values of the weekly residual RSE,
and 31 and 25% for the standard deviation values of both
123
Global optimization of core station networks 45
Table 6 The upper part provides the statistics of the results produced
with the differences between the daily EOP series, simultaneously esti-
mated with the weekly station position series, and the IERS 05 C04
series. The weekly solutions are computed with minimum constraints
for the three rotations, applied with respect to ITRF2005, over the three
genetically modified networks corresponding to the solutions GMN
opt
eop
,
GMN
net
eop
, and GMN
opt
sta
. All values are provided in µas or in µas/a (drift
values). The lower part provides the statistics of the results produced
with the weekly station position series. All values concerning the three
rotations are provided in µas. The spherical error statistics are provided
in mm, the statistics related to the Centre of Network (CN) distances
d
CN
, Eq. (8), are provided in 1000 km, and the statistics for the mean
presences are given in %. The optimum values, among the three GMN
results, are evidenced in bold for the quantities chosen as quality indi-
cators. The best values obtained with the three reference networks ASI,
IGN, and ILRS (Tables 3 and 4) are recalled in the last column for
comparison
opt
eop
net
eop
opt
sta
a
a
b
c
d
a
Value val such as 95% of the values are in the interval [0, val]
b
Rotations estimated with respect to the IERS 05 C04 series, using the second relation of (4)
c
Bias simultaneously estimated with drift at the mid epoch of the whole time span (08/16/2000)
d
The values not evidenced in italics correspond to the values obtained with the ILRS network
opt
eop
net
eop
opt
sta
e
e
f
e
Value val such as 95% of the values are in the interval [0, val]
f
Rotations estimated with respect to ITRF2005, using the first relation of (4)
rotations ε
x
and ε
y
. Moreover, the WRMS of the differences
between the EOP series computed with the networks corre-
sponding to the GMN
opt
eop
solution and the IERS 05 C04 series
are respectively reduced by 8 (22 µas) and 10 (28 µas) % for
x
p
and y
p
with respect to the WRMS of the series produced
with the ILRS network. These reductions of about 25 µas
correspond to 50% of the present IERS 05 C04 series accu-
racy (Bizouard and Gambis 2009). Reductions of the same
level are also noted for the standard deviation values of these
EOP differences. Finally, even if they are not really consid-
ered as quality indicators, the bias values of the EOP series
with respect to the IERS 05 C04 series are slightly reduced
in comparison with those of the EOP series computed with
the ILRS network. They are contrariwise still larger than the
bias values of the EOP series computed with the ASI network
(Table 3). In light of these results, it is thus possible to reduce
the influence of the network used to apply MC on the EOP
referencing so obtained.
123
46 D. Coulot et al.
Regarding the GMN
net
eop
solution, the results obtained are
consistent with those produced by the GMN
opt
eop
solution.
Indeed, even if they are slightly worse than these latter, the
results provided by this solution are still better than those
obtained with the ILRS network.
On the contrary, a clear corruption of the results obtained
appears regarding the GMN
opt
sta
solution. Indeed, in compari-
son with the values produced with the ILRS network, the val-
ues obtained are increased by 20–30% for the median value
of the EOP formal errors, by 40–70%for the median value of
the weekly RSE deduced from the EOP variance–covariance
matrices, by 80–90% for the standard deviation values of the
weekly rotation time series, and by nearly 20–30% for the
WRMS of the differences between the computed EOP series
and the IERS 05 C04 series.
Finally, concerning the drift values of the differences
between the EOP series computed with all the three GMN
solutions and the IERS 05 C04 series, they are at the max-
imum level of six µas/a; this corresponds to a variation of
about three mm at the Earth’s surface after 15years. These
values are thus negligible as are the values obtained with the
three reference networks ASI, IGN, and ILRS (see Table 3).
5.1.2 Station positions indicators
A great majority of indicators linked to the station position
time series is improved with the use of the GMN
opt
sta
solution
in comparison with the best values obtained with the three
reference networks ASI, IGN, andILRS. It is particularlytrue
for the weekly RSE deduced from the station position var-
iance–covariance matrices, the weekly estimated rotations
with respect to ITRF2005, and the mean values of the CN
coordinates. These latter indicators (as well as the d
CN
indica-
tor in Table 6) show the importance of the network geometry
for the reduction of the RSE derived fromthe station position
variance–covariance matrices. This geometry is clearly not
essential for the reduction of the RSE deduced from the EOP
variance-covariance matrices, as shown in Table 5.
Comparing the three GMNsolutions, it is moreover worth
noting that, even if the values obtained with both solutions
GMN
opt
eop
and GMN
net
eop
are not the best achievable station
positions indicators, they are on the whole at the level or
sometimes better than the best values produced with the three
reference networks ASI, IGN, and ILRS. Regarding the mean
presence indicator, we note that the GMN
net
eop
solution, espe-
cially designed with this requirement, provides the maximum
mean value. Much attention is paid on this particular solution
in next Sect. 5.2.
Finally, regarding the weekly spherical errors, a quite sur-
prising result appears: The networks which provide the best
results regarding the RSEcomputed fromthe station position
variance-covariance matrices are also the networks which
produce the worst results regarding the station position spher-
ical errors in comparison with those provided by both GMN
solutions GMN
opt
eop
and GMN
net
eop
. The same fact occurs with
the three reference networks (see ASI network vs. IGN and
ILRS networks in Table 4). A possible explanation is pre-
sented in Section 2 of Text2. The GMN
opt
sta
solution chooses
more often non-core stations or at least stations not often
present in the ASI solution with the consequence of glob-
ally spoiling the spherical errors. This is not the case of both
solutions GMN
opt
eop
and GMN
net
eop
which more rely on core sta-
tions. Considerations about the stations selected by the GMN
solutions are provided in next Sect. 5.2.
All the results in Tables 5 and 6, concerning EOP and sta-
tion positions indicators, show that, even if the primary role
of MCis to reduce the reference systemnoise contained in the
station position variance-covariance matrices, it is not possi-
ble to only stick to these uncertainties to search for an optimal
network to reference EOP series. The same can be said for
the network geometry. Indeed, the global optimizations car-
ried out on the basis of the three objectives σε
eop
x
, σε
eop
y
,
and σε
sta
z
, provide an optimal EOP referencing without dis-
torting the underlying weekly TF. Furthermore, they do not
corrupt any of the indicators linked to the station positions.
On the contrary, an optimization approach only based on cri-
teria deduced from the station position variance–covariance
matrices clearly corrupts the EOP time series.
5.2 Toward long-term core station networks?
As such a network would be easier to use, at least from a
purely operational point of view, we question here the feasi-
bility of deducing, from the GMN, a mean core network for
the application of the MC. To reach this goal, we have thus to
highlight a mean network underlying the GMN, if this latter
exists. We use two criteria that we cross to make such mean
networks emerge fromthe GMN: the presence criterion, pre-
viously defined in Eq. (9), and the choice criterion defined
by:
choice =
occurrence in the GMN
occurrence in the ASI network
× 100 (12)
5.2.1 Nature of the selected stations
On the basis of these criteria, Table 7 provides the mean net-
works corresponding to each of the three GMNsolutions and
to given intervals regarding the choice and the presence val-
ues. The stations corresponding to ILRS core stations (Fig. 5)
are underlined in the lists provided in this Table.
Both solutions GMN
opt
eop
and GMN
net
eop
clearly favor these
ILRS core stations. It is a proof of the efficiency of our
approach as these stations are classified as the best ones
by the ILRS AWG. More precisely, the GMN correspond-
123
Global optimization of core station networks 47
Table 7 Mean networks underlying the GMN evidenced with both
criteria choice (12) and presence (9), for the three solutions GMN
opt
eop
,
GMN
net
eop
, and GMN
opt
sta
Solution
GMN
opt
eop
GMN
net
eop
GMN
opt
sta
75% ≤ choice 7090 7090 7090
75% ≤ presence 7110 7110
7839
7840
75% ≤ choice 7210
50% ≤ presence < 75%
75% ≤ choice 7849 7403
25% ≤ presence < 50% 7501
7843
7849
50% ≤ choice < 75% 7501 7080
25% ≤ presence < 50% 7810 7105
7832 7210
7839 7810
7840 7832
7843 7843
8834 7849
8834
25% ≤ choice < 50% 7080 7403 7080
25% ≤ presence < 50% 7105 7501 7110
7403 7838 7210
7835 7837 7824
7837 7832
7939 7835
7941 7939
presence < 25% 7109 7109 7097
50% ≤ choice 7119 7119 7119
7122 7122 7122
7405 7406 7123
7406 7502 7124
7502 7520 7404
7520 7541 7405
7541 7825 7406
7825 7410
7883 7411
7502
7520
7525
7530
ing to the GMN
opt
eop
(respectively GMN
net
eop
) solution makes
use of 90% (respectively 81%) of these ILRS core stations.
The GMN
opt
sta
solution makes use of only 52% of the ILRS
core stations. This substantiates again the idea of the optimi-
Table 7 continued
Solution
GMN
opt
eop
GMN
net
eop
GMN
opt
sta
7545
7548
7825
7847
7882
7883
Stations always missing 1831 1831 1831
1864 1864 1885
1873 1873 7231
1884 1884 7295
1885 1885 7328
1893 1893 7335
1953 1953 7337
7123 7123 7339
7237 7237 7541
7249 7249 7805
7358 7404 7848
7404 7548
7410 7805
7548 7847
7805 7848
7847
7848
The systematically missing stations are also listed. The underlined sta-
tion codes correspond to ILRS core stations (Fig. 5). For the lists of
the stations always missing, the station codes evidenced in bold corre-
spond to stations present during at least 25% of the time period in the
ASI network, Fig. 1
zation of mixed objectives and not only of objectives deduced
from station position variance–covariance matrices. We note
also that, on average, the GMN
net
eop
solution really promotes
the most present stations in comparison to the GMN
opt
eop
solu-
tion, even if the mean networks deduced fromthese two solu-
tions are quite similar.
Furthermore, it is worth noting that a significant number
of stations is systematically missing in the GMN; some of
them (evidenced in bold in Table 7) are yet present during at
least 25% of the time period. The number of these missing
stations even reaches 22% of the total number of possible
stations for the GMN
opt
eop
solution.
If we consider all the mean networks provided in Table 7
(including the three GMN solutions) and only keep the sta-
tions present during at least 5% of the time period, our algo-
rithm mostly chooses, by a majority, 26 stations. These lat-
ter are listed in Table 1 of Text2. These 26 stations only
represent 34% of the total number of possible stations, but
57% of the total number of stations present during at least
123
48 D. Coulot et al.
Table 8 Validity time periods for the 16 stations mostly used by the
solution GMN
net
eop
(start date–end date)
Network
GMN
net
eop
ILRS
7080 Period Period
7090 Period Period
7105 49011–54442 Period
7110 Period Period
7210 48983–53126 49384–53161
7403 49025–51873 49025–51873
7501 49172–49206 –
7501 51762–54309 51762–54554
7810 Period 50814–54491
7832 Period Period
7835 49032–52664 48997–53560
7837 49046–53448 50449–53476
7839 Period Period
7840 Period Period
7843 49095–51103 non ILRS core
7849 Period Period
8834 Period 52504–54561
The time periods are also provided for the ILRS network, when the con-
sidered station belongs to this core network. Dates are given in modified
Julian days. Regarding the ILRSnetwork, the original validity time peri-
ods are crossed with the presence time periods in the considered ASI
solution. Finally, the term“Period” indicates that the considered station
can be used as a reference station over its whole presence time period
in the ASI solution
5% of the time period. Our algorithm thus clearly selects the
stations used. And this selection is dynamical as illustrated
by the intersection of the intervals “presence < 25%” and
“50% ≤ choice” in Table 7. Indeed, a significant number of
non-core stations is also selected in the GMN. The dynam-
ical feature of the GMN obviously comes partly from the
intrinsic dynamical nature of the SLR network (see Fig. 1;
Sect. 2.1). But this does not fully explain this characteristic
which appears to be a strength of the GMN. Indeed, when
a stable core station is missing for a given week, the GMN
probably switch to another station which is not forcely a pri-
ori classified as a core one.
5.2.2 Mean station core networks
Despite this dynamical nature of the GMN, it is possible, on
the basis of the five first categories in Table 7, to evidence a
mean core network for the dedicated solution GMN
net
eop
. This
mean core network is listed in Table 8, together with the
inherent validity periods in the GMN solution and the ILRS
network.
The case of the station 7249 (station of Beijing in China,
DOMES number 21601S004, with a presence of 32.5%) is
interesting. Indeed, the ILRS AWG recommends to consider
this station as a core one before 1999.0. On the contrary,
the GMN never use it. This station may not be well suited
for EOP referencing. This was moreover pointed out during
the ILRS AWG meeting of April 12, 2008. Indeed, as writ-
ten in the corresponding minutes (Pavlis EC, private com-
munication, 2008), Beijing site (7249) should be removed
from the core site list. In the opposite, the station 7843 (sta-
tion of Orroral in Australia, DOMES number 50103S007,
with a presence of 29.1%, and which is no more active) is
used by GMN. This station should probably be considered
as a core station. The case of both ILRS core stations 7939
and 7941 (stations of Matera in Italy, respective DOMES
numbers 12734S001 and 12734S008, respective presence
values of 34.9 and 30.5%, 7939 is no more active) ques-
tions also. Indeed, these stations are not mainly used
in the GMN
net
eop
solution, even if they are not always
missing.
Other cases are noticeable. First, the three stations 7210
(station of Haleakala in Hawaii, DOMES number
40445M001, presence of 59.1%, no more active), 7810 (sta-
tion of Zimmerwald in Switzerland, DOMES numbers
14001S001 and 14001S007, presence of 65.5%), and 8834
(station of Wettzell in Germany, DOMES number
14201S018, presence of 84.8%) are used over their whole
presence periods by the GMN whereas their use is only rec-
ommended over restricted time periods by the ILRS AWG.
Second, the validity time periods deduced from the GMN
are different than the ones established for the ILRS net-
work regarding both stations 7501 (station of Hartebeesthoek
in South Africa, DOMES number 30302M003, presence of
39.3%) and 7835 (SLR station of Grasse, France, DOMES
number 10002S001, presence of 60.2%). Finally, we can
notice that, for the station 7403 (station of Arequipa in Peru,
DOMES number 42202M003, presence of 47.7%), the
GMN
net
eop
solution evidences the same validity time periods
than the one recommended in ILRS network, the end date
corresponding to an Earthquake.
As a test, we merge the 16 stations of the mean network
corresponding to the GMN
net
eop
solution (especially designed
to reach this particular goal) into a core network (as the IGN
and ILRS ones), taking into account the respective valid-
ity time periods deduced from the GMN. The differences
between the so-computed PM time series and the IERS 05
C04 series provide WRMS of 285 and 267 µas, for x
p
and y
p
respectively. These results are better than those provided by
the ILRS network (Table 3) but they are worse than results
obtained with any of both solutions GMN
opt
eop
and GMN
net
eop
(Table 6). However, they prove the possibility of evidencing a
core network providing a satisfactory EOP referencing from
these weekly GMN. This core network moreover questions
the ILRS network, regarding the stations chosen as well as
their validity time periods.
123
Global optimization of core station networks 49
6 Discussion and conclusions
In this article, we propose a new convention for EOP ref-
erencing, based on the weekly selection of station core net-
works for MC application with respect to a given TRF. This
newapproach leads to an improvement of 10%of the stability
of the PMtime series with respect to the IERS 05 C04 series,
in comparison to the ILRS network which was especially
designed for EOP referencing. Indeed, the WRMS of the
differences are reduced from287 to 265 µas for x
p
, and from
275 to 247 µas for y
p
. These reductions of about 20–25 µas
represent 50% of the current assessed accuracy of the IERS
05 C04 series (Bizouard and Gambis 2009). For some part,
the accuracy of the PM series may be thus corrupted by ref-
erencing problems and it is essential to ensure an optimal ref-
erencing. Our method does so. Moreover, we obtained these
results on the basis of rigorous criteria for the optimization
of core station selection. These rigorous criteria (namely, the
mixed RSEdeduced fromEOP and station position variance-
covariance matrices) support the fundamental following
requirement: although the considered problem falls into the
free-network adjustment framework, the best core network
for EOP referencing (carried out on the basis of MC appli-
cation) should be more designed on its adequacy to best rep-
resent the real EOP, by preserving their consistency among
the involved epochs, rather than on its adequacy to reduce
the station positions uncertainties, and even on its geometry.
On this latter point, it is yet worth noting that our optimized
criteria do not distort the underlying weekly TF.
The dynamical nature of the weekly GMN appears as a
key point of their success for the MC application. It was thus
essential to work on a weekly basis to evidence this fact.
This feature is another fundamental difference between our
method and the current approaches based on (more or less
empirical) mean core networks. Nevertheless, we designed
a specific GMN solution to make such a mean core network
emerge. This latter, even if it does not provide results at the
level of those produced with the weekly GMN, improves
the EOP accuracy in comparison to the ILRS core network.
Moreover, it questions this latter network regarding both sta-
tions 7249 and 7843 and the validity time periods of other
ones.
The multi objective approach, which is the heart of our
algorithm, permitted us to show the incommensurability
between the considered objectives, to test the possible influ-
ence of geographical indicators (such as the mean presence
or the distance d
CN
), and more particularly to compute the
specific GMN
net
eop
solution for producing a mean core net-
work. Nevertheless, in light of the results provided by the
GMN
opt
eop
solution, and of all the numerical tests reported in
Text1, Section 3, permitted by this multi objective approach,
it seems that, for this particular application to the SLR tech-
nique, a single objective approach (based on the distance
d
σ
, for instance) should provide optimal solutions. This was
confirmed by numerical tests carried out for the 15 test GPS
weeks we used for assessing our algorithm results.
Our approach is general and can consequently be used
for other case studies. Regarding SLR technique, it would
be interesting to carry out a similar study, using other solu-
tions or even the ILRS official combined solution, which
is currently under investigation for the next ITRF generation
(ITRF2008) at the time of writing of this article. Similar stud-
ies for the DORIS, VLBI, and GPS techniques would also
be profitable to strengthen the present conclusions. To our
mind, we should also pay attention to the issue of designing
a specific global optimization approach for the selection of a
mean fixed core network, valid over a given time period.
Finally, regarding the consistency of EOP and TRF or TF,
Gambis (2004) concludes that there are presently two ways
of improvement: using the ITRF stacking approach or car-
rying out a combination of space geodetic techniques at the
measurement level. For this latter, that can be carried out
on a weekly basis, we know that referencing problems are
still key issues (Coulot et al. 2007) and that the application
of MC is essential. Such a study, based on global optimiza-
tion, may solve some of these problems or, at least, guide
us towards possible ways of improvement. For the stacking
approach, which must encompass all available solutions to
preserve consistency among epochs and which also mainly
relies on MC (Altamimi et al. 2007), it would probably be
beneficial to design a similar global optimization method.
In this context, regarding the study carried out by Ray and
Altamimi (2005), such an approach could also help for the
evaluation (and even the selection) of the co-location ties.
Acknowledgments This study was funded by the Institut Géographi-
que National (IGN), France. We also acknowledge the Centre National
d’Études Spatiales (CNES), France, for recent financial support. We are
grateful to the International Laser Ranging Service (ILRS) (Pearlman
et al. 2002) and, more especially, to the analysis center ASI (Agen-
zia Spaziale Italiane, Italian Spatial Agency, Italy) for the production
and the distribution of the solution used for this research. We thank
the professor K. Deb (Kanpur GA Laboratory, KanGAL, India) and
his colleagues for the design, the programming, the testing, and the
maintenance of NSGA-II software. We have also a friendly thought
for our colleague H. Duquenne (IGN/LAREG, France) who found the
so present French expression “Réseau Génétiquement Modifié” (that
we have translated into “Genetically Modified Network” in English)
after a preliminary presentation of this work at IGN/LAREG. Finally,
we acknowledge the anonymous referees who reviewed the submitted
and revised versions of this article: Their remarks and comments have
helped us to make this paper more precise and comprehensive.
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