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.
Recently, Xu and Cheney (1992) have proved that if all the Legendre coefficients of a zonal function defined on a sphere are positive then the function is strictly positive definite. It will be shown in this paper, that even if finitely many of the Legendre coefficients are zero, the strict positive definiteness can be assured. The results are based on approximation properties of singular integrals, and provide also a completely different proof of the results ofXu and Cheney.
By the use of locally supported basis functions for spherical spline interpolation the applicability of this approximation method is spread out since the resulting interpolation matrix is sparse and thus efficient solvers can be used. In this paper we study locally supported kernels in detail. Investigations on the Legendre coefficients allow a characterization of the underlying Hilbert space structure. We show now spherical spline interpolation with polynomial precision can be managed with locally supported kernels, thus giving the possibility to combine approximation techniques based on spherical harmonic expansions with those based on locally supported kernels.
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.