After more than two decades of fully operational functioning, the DORIS space geodesy system has demonstrated its capabilities for orbitography and navigation of the satellites and also ground location. It plays a key role in the altimetric mission for oceanography providing in association with the Laser technique a 2 cm accuracy in the radial component of the orbit. DORIS and Laser are renewed as the nominal orbitographic system for the Jason mission (end of 2000).
DORIS also provides with Diode navigator on Spot 4 (1993), an orbit in real time within a few meters. It's a world first at this level of precision. Since the SPOT4 pilot experiment, other Diode Navigators have been flown on-board Envisat, Jason-2, Cryosat-2, Saral, Sentinel-3 … nearly every satellite carrying a DORIS receiver. Their accuracy was improved down to currently 2-3 centimeters RMS on Jason-2. This Real-Time orbit is inserted in the telemetry and in the OGDR products to allow Near Real-Time applications
Since 1994 and thanks to its more than fifty permanent beacon network, DORIS contributes to the IERS activities for the realization and maintenance of the ITRS (International Terrestrial Reference System). 3D positions and velocities of the reference sites at a cm and mm/yr accuracy lead to scientific studies (investigations) in the fields of global and regional tectonics. Two recent DORIS results appear very encouraging for the future. One concerns a seasonal effect of earth surface fluid mass redistribution (oceanic water, atmospheric masses, snow, ...) on the relative positions of the earth mass and earth figure centers. Another concerns vertical displacement of the crust monitored near tides-gages. This information is of major interest for the topic of sea level variations and correlation to the Global Change.
Such as the other space geodesy techniques GPS, VLBI, SLR, there is a strong demand among the scientific community to create an International DORIS Service, so called IDS. The CSTG, commission for international co-ordination of space techniques for geodesy of the International Association Geodesy (IAG) and the IERS directing board decided in July 1999 to initiate a DORIS Pilot Experiment. Its objective was to assess the need and feasibility of an International DORIS Service.
Since July,1 2003, the International DORIS Service has been officially started as an IAG Service after the decision of the IAG Executive Committtee at the IUGG General Assembly in Sapporo. New terms of reference were released. They describe the goals and organization of the IDS.