Terrestrial reference frames supporting GNSS (Global Navigation Satellite Systems) positioning shall refer to the same reference frame in which the satellite orbits are computed. In general, the ITRF (International Terrestrial Reference Frame) is applied for this purpose and, consequently, SIRGAS has been established as a regional densification of the global ITRF in Latin America and the Caribbean. In the same way, the continental reference frame SIRGAS is extended to the individual countries by means of the national geodetic networks. According to this, GNSS positioning referring to SIRGAS or to its national densifications directly accesses the ITRF.
In order to divulge and to promote the adequate use of SIRGAS as reference frame in the different countries of the region, the Working Group II of SIRGAS (SIRGAS at national level) coordinates a capacity building activity oriented to strengthen the fundamental concepts associated with the Geodesy of Reference. This activity is sponsored by the International Association of Geodesy (IAG) and the Pan American Institute of Geography and History (PAIGH). It is called SIRGAS/IAG/PAIGH.
- The first SIRGAS School was dedicated to the Geodetic Reference Systems and was hold in Bogotá (Colombia), between 13 and 17 July 2009. It was hosted by the Instituto Geográfico Agustín Codazzi and attended by 120 participants from 12 Latin American and Caribbean countries.
- The second SIRGAS School was also concentrated on the Geodetic Reference Systems and was carried out in Lima (Peru), between 8 and 10 November 2010. It was supported by the Instituto Geográfico Nacional of Peru and was attended by 112 participants from 13 countries.
- The third SIRGAS School, also on Geodetic Reference Systems, took place together with the SIRGAS2011 General Meeting in August 3-5, 2011 in Heredia, Costa Rica. It was attended by 116 participants from 17 countries.
- The fourth SIRGAS School was devoted to the Real Time GNSS Positioning and was carried out between October 24 and 26, 2012. It was hosted by the Universidad de Concepción and the Instituto Geográfico Militar of Chile and was attended by 50 colleagues from 16 countries. This School was possible thanks to the support of the Federal Agency for Cartography and Geodesy (BKG) of Germany, the Universidad de la República, Uruguay and the Universidad Nacional de Rosario, Argentina. The presentaions of this School are available at ftp://ftp.sirgas.org/pub/gps/SIRGAS-RT/.
- The fifth SIRGAS School was named School on Reference Systems, Crustal Deformation and Ionosphere Monitoring. It was a capacity building activity of the project Monitoring crustal deformation and the ionosphere by GPS in the Caribbean, which was supported by the IUGG (International Union of Geodesy and Geophysics), the IAG (International Association of Geodesy), the IASPEI (International Association of Seismology and Physics of the Earth’s Interior), and the IAGA (International Association of Geomagnetism and Aeronomy). The main objective of this project was to invite the Caribbean countries to participate actively in geodetic and geophysical initiatives going on in the Central and South American region, in order to enable the use the acquired data for practice and science in their countries, and to promote geosciences. The School was hosted by the Instituto Geográfico Nacional “Tommy Guardia” in Panama City, Panama, from October 21 to 23, 2013 and it was attended 145 participants from 28 countries.
- The sixth SIRGAS School was concentrated on Vertical Reference Systems. Main topic was the continental adjustment of the first order national vertical networks based on geopotential numbers. This included a capacitation on height systems, least squares adjustment, and processing of gravity and vertical networks. Attendees were provided with computation software, so the theory lectures were complemented by practical exercises. This school was hosted by the Bolivian Instituto Geográfico Militar and Escuela Militar de Ingenería in La Paz, Bolivia, from November 20 to 23, 2014 and it was attended 34 participants from 13 countries.
- The seventh SIRGAS School on Reference Systems was a capacity building activity of the project Monitoring crustal deformation and the ionosphere by GPS in the Caribbean, which was supported by the IUGG (International Union of Geodesy and Geophysics), the IAG (International Association of Geodesy), the IASPEI (International Association of Seismology and Physics of the Earth’s Interior), and the IAGA (International Association of Geomagnetism and Aeronomy). The main objective of this project was to invite the Caribbean countries to participate actively in geodetic and geophysical initiatives going on in the Central and South American region, in order to enable the use the acquired data for practice and science in their countries, and to promote geosciences. This School was hosted by the Universidad Nacional Pedro Henríquez Ureña (UNPHU) in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, from November 18 to 19, 2015 and it was attended 60 participants from 19 countries.
The Eighth SIRGAS School in Reference Systems was held on July 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7, 2023 in Heredia (Costa Rica).” The event was organized by SIRGAS (Geodetic Reference System for the Americas), the National Geographic Institute of Costa Rica, the School of Topographic Engineering of the University of Costa Rica and the School of Topography, Cadastre and Geodesy of the National University. The event consisted of two parts, a theoretical part that took place at the National University for two and a half days, and a practical part held at the University of Costa Rica for another two and a half days. During the practical part, participants learned about the processing and adjustment of GPS/GNSS networks using software such as BERNESE and GAMIT/GLOBK, acquiring fundamental skills in this field. Upon completion of the course, participants gained a solid understanding of the metadata required for GNSS processing and gained experience in using the GAMIT and BERNESE programs, as well as densifying the International GNSS Service 20 (IGS20) with example data provided. On this occasion, 55 participants from various countries attended, including Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Brazil, Mexico, Panama and the Dominican Republic. Additionally, there was a group of 8 attendees in the BERNESE package course and 14 participants in the GAMIT/GLOBK course.
- The XIV International School on “The Determination and Use of the Geoid” was developed at the National Geographic Institute of Argentina. Organized by SIRGAS (Geocentric Reference System for the Americas), in cooperation with IGN (National Geographic Institute of the Argentine Republic), Pan American Institute of Geography and History, Federal University of Uberlândia, National University of La Plata and ISG (International Service of Geoid). with financing from the project of the Pan American Institute of Geography and History (PAIGH): “SIRGAS2023: Geodetic Reference Framework for the Sustainable Development of the Americas”, the National Geographic Institute and the IAG.
The school was organized with theoretical classes and practical exercises using real data. The specific GRAVSOFT software was freely distributed to the participants, who had to become familiar with different theoretical formulations for the calculation of geoid gravimetry and the software necessary to perform their calculations. In total, 40 students from different institutions from 15 countries participated: Argentina, Austria, Brazil, Cameroon, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guyana, Mexico, Nepal, Nigeria, Switzerland, Uganda, Uruguay and the United States.