Using numerical tests for a prescribed heterogeneous earthquake slip distribution, we examine the importance of accurate Green's functions (GF) for finite fault source inversions which rely on coseismic GPS displacements and leveling line uplift alone and in combination with near-source strong ground motions. The static displacements, while sensitive to the three-dimensional (3-D) structure, are less so than seismic waveforms and thus are an important contribution, particularly when used in conjunction with waveform inversions. For numerical tests of an earthquake source and data distribution modeled after the 1994 Northridge earthquake, a joint geodetic and seismic inversion allows for reasonable recovery of the heterogeneous slip distribution on the fault. In contrast, inaccurate 3-D GFs or multiple 1-D GFs allow only partial recovery of the slip distribution given strong motion data alone. Likewise, using just the GPS and leveling line data requires significant smoothing for inversion stability, and hence, only a blurred vision of the prescribed slip is recovered. Although the half-space approximation for computing the surface static deformation field is no longer justifiable based on the high level of accuracy for current GPS data acquisition and the computed differences between 3-D and half-space surface displacements, a layered 1-D approximation to 3-D Earth structure provides adequate representation of the surface displacement field. However, even with the half-space approximation, geodetic data can provide additional slip resolution in the joint seismic and geodetic inversion provided a priori fault location and geometry are correct. Nevertheless, the sensitivity of the static displacements to the Earth structure begs caution for interpretation of surface displacements, particularly those recorded at monuments located in or near basin environments. Copyright 2001 by the American Geophysical Union.