Abstract Long wavelength gravity anomalies derived from satellite data have limitations of spatial resolution and accuracy. To complement these weak points, combined datasets merged with shipborne/land gravity data and satellite data are generally compiled using global spherical harmonic, rectangular harmonic, or spherical cap harmonic analysis etc. However, each method also has a different resolution and accuracy. In this study, gravity anomalies and geoid undulations of South Korea and its vicinity are calculated using the spherical cap harmonic method, and the results are compared with those of GGM02C and EGM2008. Absolute and relative geoid height differences between GPS/leveling data and the results of various other methods show that the method used in this study has the lowest RMS error (0.271 m vs 0.344–0.416 m) and standard deviation (0.236 m vs 0.309–0.362 m). This implies that the spherical cap harmonic method has better resolution and accuracy than the other methods. The short wavelength gravity anomalies derived from the spherical cap harmonic coefficients are used to estimate the sediment thickness of the Ulleung Basin, which is poorly known. The sediment thickness of the Ulleung Basin is about 5 km at the center of the basin, and about 12 km at the southern margin.