Articles | Volume 372
12 Nov 2015
 | 12 Nov 2015

Introduction to GPS geodetic infrastructure for land subsidence monitoring in Houston, Texas, USA

G. Wang, J. Welch, T. J. Kearns, L. Yang, and J. Serna Jr.

Abstract. Houston, Texas is one of the places that first employed high-accuracy GPS technology for land subsidence monitoring beginning in the late 1980s. Currently, there are over 170 permanent GPS stations located in the Houston metropolitan area. This article summarizes the current GPS geodetic infrastructure in the Houston metropolitan area, which is comprised of three components: a dense GPS network with 170 permanent stations, a stable Houston reference frame (SHRF14), and sophisticated software packages for post positioning processing. Average land subsidence and groundwater-level altitude changes during the past 10 years (2005–2014) also are presented in this paper.

Short summary
The Houston metropolitan area represents one of the largest subsidence areas in the USA. The groundwater regulations enforced by the Harris-Galveston Subsidence District have successfully halted subsidence in areas that were once heavily subsiding. It is evident that groundwater resources and subsidence are manageable. This study demonstrated an approach of using publicly available GPS data to conduct millimeter-accuracy land subsidence studies in an urban environment.