The development of precise orbital positioning systems in the 1970s and 80s, together with the advent of satellite altimetry with the launch of Topex/Poseidon in 1992, has created the new scientific discipline of high precision spatial oceanography. Subsequent research efforts in this field led in 2001 to the development of operational oceanography over the major ocean basins. This achievement flows from the synergy between fundamental research, technology and societal demand, and close cooperation in Toulouse between CNES, GRGS, and more recently LEGOS and GIP-MERCATOR.
This scientific evolution now continues at LEGOS in the new domains of earth system science, coastal oceanography, tropical dynamics, marine biogeochemistry, spatial hydrology, and cryospheric dynamics. Research groups investigating these themes pursue a multi-disciplinary approach, using in-situ observations, satellite measurements, modelling and data assimilation. LEGOS engages in these activities as part of the Observatoire Midi-Pyrénées and the University of Toulouse, in close collaboration with locally based businesses such as CLS and NOVELTIS, the national research organisations CNRS and IRD, and European and international programs.