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In monitoring vertical displacements in elongated structures (e.g. bridges, dams) by means of precise geometric levelling a reference base usually consists of two subgroups located on both ends of a monitored structure. The bigger the separation of the subgroups, the greater is the magnitude of undetectable displacement of one subgroup with respect to the other. With a focus on a method of observation differences the question arises which of the two basic types of computation datum, i.e. the elastic and the fixed, both applicable in this method, is more suitable in such a specific base configuration. To support the analysis of this problem, general relationships between displacements computed in elastic datum and in fixed datum are provided. They are followed by auxiliary relationships derived on the basis of transformation formulae for different computational bases in elastic datum. Furthermore, indices of base separation are proposed which can be helpful in the design of monitoring networks. A test network with simulated mutual displacements of the base subgroups, is used to investigate behaviour of the network with the fixed and the elastic datum being applied. Also, practical guidelines are given concerning data processing procedures for such specific monitoring networks. For big separation of base subgroups a non-routine procedure is recommended, aimed at facilitating specialist interpretation of monitoring results.
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