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The paper discusses the approximation of scattered data on the sphere which is one of the major tasks in geomathematics. Starting from the discretization of singular integrals on the sphere the authors devise a simple approximation method that employs locally supported spherical polynomials and does not require equidistributed grids. It is the basis for a hierarchical approximation algorithm using differently scaled basis functions, adaptivity and error control. The method is applied to two examples one of which is a digital terrain model of Australia.

Satellite gradiometry and its instrumentation is an ultra-sensitive detection technique of the space gravitational gradient (i.e. the Hesse tensor of the gravitational potential). Gradeometry will be of great significance in inertial navigation, gravity survey, geodynamics and earthquake prediction research. In this paper, satellite gradiometry formulated as an inverse problem of satellite geodesy is discussed from two mathematical aspects: Firstly, satellite gradiometry is considered as a continuous problem of harmonic downward continuation. The space-borne gravity gradients are assumed to be known continuously over the satellite (orbit) surface. Our purpose is to specify sufficient conditions under which uniqueness and existence can be guaranteed. It is shown that, in a spherical context, uniqueness results are obtainable by decomposition of the Hesse matrix in terms of tensor spherical harmonics. In particular, the gravitational potential is proved to be uniquely determined if second order radial derivatives are prescribed at satellite height. This information leads us to a reformulation of satellite gradiometry as a (Fredholm) pseudodifferential equation of first kind. Secondly, for a numerical realization, we assume the gravitational gradients to be known for a finite number of discrete points. The discrete problem is dealt with classical regularization methods, based on filtering techniques by means of spherical wavelets. A spherical singular integral-like approach to regularization methods is established, regularization wavelets are developed which allow the regularization in form of a multiresolution analysis. Moreover, a combined spherical harmonic and spherical regularization wavelet solution is derived as an appropriate tool in future (global and local) high-presision resolution of the earth" s gravitational potential.

Based on a new definition of delation a scale discrete version of spherical multiresolution is described, starting from a scale discrete wavelet transform on the sphere. Depending on the type of application, different families of wavelets are chosen. In particular, spherical Shannon wavelets are constructed that form an orthogonal multiresolution analysis. Finally fully discrete wavelet approximation is discussed in case of band-limited wavelets.

A concept of generalized discrepancy, which involves pseudodifferential operators to give a criterion of equidistributed pointsets, is developed on the sphere. A simply structured formula in terms of elementary functions is established for the computation of the generalized discrepancy. With the help of this formula five kinds of point systems on the sphere, namely lattices in polar coordinates, transformed 2-dimensional sequences, rotations on the sphere, triangulation, and sum of three squares sequence, are investigated. Quantitative tests are done, and the results are compared with each other. Our calculations exhibit different orders of convergence of the generalized discrepancy for different types of point systems.

The basic theory of spherical singular integrals is recapitulated. Criteria are given for measuring the space-frequency localization of functions on the sphere. The trade off between space localization on the sphere and frequency localization in terms of spherical harmonics is described in form of an uncertainty principle. A continuous version of spherical multiresolution is introduced, starting from continuous wavelet transform corresponding to spherical wavelets with vanishing moments up to a certain order. The wavelet transform is characterized by least-squares properties. Scale discretization enables us to construct spherical counterparts of wavelet packets and scale discrete Daubechies" wavelets. It is shown that singular integral operators forming a semigroup of contraction operators of class (Co) (like Abel-Poisson or Gauß-Weierstraß operators) lead in canonical way to pyramyd algorithms. Fully discretized wavelet transforms are obtained via approximate integration rules on the sphere. Finally applications to (geo-)physical reality are discussed in more detail. A combined method is proposed for approximating the low frequency parts of a physical quantity by spherical harmonics and the high frequency parts by spherical wavelets. The particular significance of this combined concept is motivated for the situation of today" s physical geodesy, viz. the determination of the high frequency parts of the earth" s gravitational potential under explicit knowledge of the lower order part in terms of a spherical harmonic expansion.

Spline functions that approximate data given on the sphere are developed in a weighted Sobolev space setting. The flexibility of the weights makes possible the choice of the approximating function in a way which emphasizes attributes desirable for the particular application area. Examples show that certain choices of the weight sequences yield known methods. A convergence theorem containing explicit constants yields a usable error bound. Our survey ends with the discussion of spherical splines in geodetically relevant pseudodifferential equations.

Some new approximation methods are described for harmonic functions corresponding to boundary values on the (unit) sphere. Starting from the usual Fourier (orthogonal) series approach, we propose here nonorthogonal expansions, i.e. series expansions in terms of overcomplete systems consisting of localizing functions. In detail, we are concerned with the so-called Gabor, Toeplitz, and wavelet expansions. Essential tools are modulations, rotations, and dilations of a mother wavelet. The Abel-Poisson kernel turns out to be the appropriate mother wavelet in approximation of harmonic functions from potential values on a spherical boundary.

Discrete families of functions with the property that every function in a certain space can be represented by its formal Fourier series expansion are developed on the sphere. A Fourier series type expansion is obviously true if the family is an orthonormal basis of a Hilbert space, but it also can hold in situations where the family is not orthogonal and is overcomplete. Furthermore, all functions in our approach are axisymmetric (depending only on the spherical distance) so that they can be used adequately in (rotation) invariant pseudodifferential equations on the frames (ii) Gauss- Weierstrass frames, and (iii) frames consisting of locally supported kernel functions. Abel-Poisson frames form families of harmonic functions and provide us with powerful approximation tools in potential theory. Gauss-Weierstrass frames are intimately related to the diffusion equation on the sphere and play an important role in multiscale descriptions of image processing on the sphere. The third class enables us to discuss spherical Fourier expansions by means of axisymmetric finite elements.

Spline functions that interpolate data given on the sphere are developed in a weighted Sobolev space setting. The flexibility of the weights makes possible the choice of the approximating function in a way which emphasizes attributes desirable for the particular application area. Examples show that certain choices of the weight sequences yield known methods. A pointwise convergence theorem containing explicit constants yields a useable error bound.

In this paper, we deal with the problem of spherical interpolation of discretely given data of tensorial type. To this end, spherical tensor fields are investigated and a decomposition formula is described. Tensor spherical harmonics are introduced as eigenfunctions of a tensorial analogon to the Beltrami operator and discussed in detail. Based on these preliminaries, a spline interpolation process is described and error estimates are presented. Furthermore, some relations between the spline basis functions and the theory of radial basis functions are developed.