Minimize Project Structure

The GOCE User Toolbox project was structured in three phases:

I) In the first phase (Kick-off January 2006), ESA has conducted an 12 months long algorithmic and trade-off study, coined GOCE User Toolbox Specification (GUTS), in preparation for the development of a GOCE User Toolbox in the subsequent phase.

The primary objectives of the GOCE User Toolbox Specifications study were to consolidate toolbox requirements, to develop - in close collaboration with ESA's HPF effort – algorithms, to design a draft architecture and to define input and output specifications for the subsequent generation of GUT Toolbox.

The purpose of the study was accordingly to:

  • Consolidate the User Toolbox requirements associated with geodetic, oceanographic and solid earth applications
  • Carry out a scientific trade off study to select the toolbox processing and viewing functions
  • Produce a Toolbox output specifications document
  • Produce an algorithms specifications document which details the necessary level for coding
  • Produce a Toolbox architectural design document mapping the required functionality and interfaces such as auxiliary data

For all applications (geodetic, oceanographic and solid earth), the absolute minimal requirement of the toolbox has been identified as the computation of geoid heights from the set of spherical harmonic coefficients at a given user-specified harmonic degree and order.

For oceanographic applications the key quantity to be computed is the mean dynamic topography which basically is the height of the mean sea surface relative to the geoid.

For this application GUT provides the tools for converting the mean sea surface and the geoid into the same geodetic system and for carrying out the needed filtering to compensate for the different resolution capabilities of the two surfaces. Furthermore, a-priori mean dynamic topography models derived from e.g. ocean circulation models, may be used.

For geodetic applications, the primary variables of interest to be provided by the toolbox were identified in the form of geoid heights, heights anomaly and deflections of the vertical. Those quantities were required to be represented in the nodes along a profile, in a grid or in discretely located points.

Finally, for Solid Earth applications, scientists showed interest to compute gravity anomalies fields and associated error information inside toolbox.

GUTS was supported by ESA with collaborators from many European countries.

The GUT-Phase 1 consortium was composed by: 

  • Alfred-Wegener-Institut (AWI), Germany
  • Collecte Localisation Satellite (CLS), France
  • Danish National Space Center (DNSC), Denmark
  • IFREMER, France
  • Nansen Environmental and Remote Sensing Center (NERSC), Norway
  • National Oceanography Centre, Southampton (NOCS), UK
  • Proudman Oceanographic Laboratory (POL), UK
  • Technische University München (TUM), Germany
  • University of Copenhagen (UCPH), Denmark
  • University of Hamburg (UHH), Germany
  • University of Reading (UR), UK
  • University of Stuttgart (UST), Germany

The consortium was an open working group, open to any further membership and open to all donators of free source code.


II) In the second phase (Kick-off January 2008), detailed design, coding and implementation by software engineers and beta testing by scientists took place. GUT was launched by ESA as 18 months long CCN of GUTS contract.

The primary objective of CCN was to release the first version of the user toolbox through following steps:

  • Review toolbox specification and define technical requirements
  • Develop the first generation toolbox based on existing software
  • Introduce visualisation functions via GUI based on BRAT
  • Develop toolbox tutorial
  • Evaluate and test the toolbox

Furthermore, two supporting scientific studies have been carried out; one on a new Mean Sea Surface and one on error covariance matrix handling.

The GUT-Phase 2 consortium was composed by :

  • Collecte Localisation Satellite (CLS), France
  • Danish National Space Center (DNSC), Denmark + Georges Balmino, France
  • Nansen Environmental and Remote Sensing Center (NERSC), Norway
  • National Oceanography Centre, Southampton (NOCS), UK
  • Proudman Oceanographic Laboratory (POL), UK
  • Science and Technology (S&T), NL
  • University of Reading (UR), UK


III) In the third phase (Kick-off March 2010) a GUT Extension/Maintenance Contract has been kicked-off on 25 March 2010. The main outcome from this contract is the release of GUT v2.0 but also pure research activities in the fields of the synthetic error covariance matrix evaluation and MSS error characteristics assessment has been pursued. The second public release of GUT (v2.0) was disseminated on March 2011 in concomitance of the 4th GOCE User Workshop.

GUT v2.0 has:

  • More Support/Utilities for Solid Earth Community (Bouguer Anomaly, etc)
  • Anisotropic Filtering
  • Spline Interpolation
  • Support to ICGEM Format
  • More Statistical Analysis methods
  • History Attribute
  • Time Attribute
  • An external Tool for the analysis of Variance/Covariance Matrix
  • And many others more

The GUT-Phase 3 consortium is composed by:

  • Danmarks Tekniske Universitet Space (DTU), Denmark
  • Collecte Localisation Satellite (CLS), France
  • National Oceanography Centre Southampton (NOCS), UK
  • Science & Technology (S&T), NL
  • Newcastle University (NU), UK
  • Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris (IPGP), France
  • Copenaghen University (CU), Denmark
  • Hamburg University (HU), Germany

The GUT members work in a core group with an open group of observers, reviewers and advisors. The members of this open group are de facto the first users of the toolbox. Some have also contributed existing source code to improve the toolbox.
You can join this group and contribute to the toolbox validation process - please contact the GUT Support Team.

The second version of GUT has been disseminated in concomitance of the 4th GOCE User Workshop. User satisfaction survey is on-going here.