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I'm researching the .grd file format and its not clear to me why they are used, especially regarding the mining and construction industries. I understand they demonstrate changes in elevation or other geographic attributes in a binary format.

What analytical operations are .grd files used for in the mining and construction industry?

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.grd files are sometimes used for geoid model files. A geoid model contains offsets between a geopotential surface and the ellipsoid model of the Earth. GNSS (GPS, GLONASS, Beidou, etc.) natively return heights above the ellipsoid surface. These are not always useful as they do not reflect which direction water will flow 'downhill'.

The geopotential surface of a geoid model is approximately equal to mean sea level as IF there was no topography. I've seen it described as there are tunnels connecting the oceans and allowing the water to freely flow.

Anyway, people often prefer elevations, heights above the geoid or another gravity-related surface as many vertical coordinate reference systems are like NAVD88 (USA), NAP (Netherlands), etc.

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  • 2
    Downvoter, please consider editing the answer to include whatever you feel is missing or incorrect or leave a comment so I can try to improve the answer.
    – mkennedy
    Jun 28 '17 at 19:11
  • My downvote was meant to be an upvote, corrected now.
    – user30184
    Jun 29 '17 at 6:29
  • @user30184 No worries. There's still a downvote...maybe because I focused only on geoid models?
    – mkennedy
    Jun 29 '17 at 17:56
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There are a few different grid file formats, using .grd as extension. see qgis, Saga GIS, grdpaste, FiniteMap, etc.. It could be also an Adobe Photoshop Gradient file.

see the following tutorials for saga gis, for why this industries use grids noise, hydrology and morphometry/slope, etc..

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  • Not an adobe photoshop file but otherwise thanks
    – maxxmill
    Jun 28 '17 at 21:14

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