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What is Global Positioning System?

The Global Positioning System (GPS) is a space-based global navigation satellite system (GNSS) that provides reliable location and time information in all weather and at all times and anywhere on or near the Earth when and where there is an unobstructed line of sight to four or more GPS satellites. Basic concept of GPS A GPS receiver calculates its position by precisely timing the signals sent by GPS satellites high above the Earth. Each satellite continually transmits messages that include

the time the message was transmitted precise orbital information (the ephemeris) the general system health and rough orbits of all GPS satellites (the almanac).

The receiver uses the messages it receives to determine the transit time of each message and computes the distance to each satellite. These distances along with the satellites' locations are used with the possible aid of trilateration, depending on which algorithm is used, to compute the position of the receiver. This position is then displayed, perhaps with a moving map display or latitude and longitude; elevation information may be included. Many GPS units show derived information such as direction and speed, calculated from position changes.

A visual example of the GPS constellation in motion with the Earth rotating

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1. Absolute Positioning The mode of positioning relies upon a single receiver station. It is also referred to as 'standalone' GPS, because unlike differential positioning, ranging is carried out strictly between the satellite and the receiver station, not on a ground-based reference station that assists with the computation of error corrections. As a result, the positions derived in absolute mode are subject to the unmitigated errors inherent in satellite positioning. Operation of Absolute Positioning When a GPS user performs a navigation solution, only an approximate range, or "pseudorange," to selected satellites is measured. In order for the GPS user to determine his precise location, the known range to the satellite and the position of those satellites must be known. By pseudoranging, the GPS user measures an approximate distance between the GPS antenna and the satellite by correlation of a satellite transmitted code and a reference code created by the receiver. This measurement does not contain corrections for synchronization errors between the clock of the satellite transmitter and that of the GPS receiver. The signal velocity is affected by tropospheric and ionospheric conditions in the atmosphere.

Signal Used of Absolute Positioning i. The signal has traveled is equal to the velocity of the transmission multiplied by the elapsed time of transmission. ii. Coarse Acquisition or Clear Acquisition code (C/A code) only Expected Accuracy i. ii. Absolute point positioning typically range between 10 m and 30 m Two main components that determine the accuracy of a GPS position solution: Geometric Dilution of Precision (GDOP) User Equivalent Range Error (UERE) Time Observation Parameter i. Data Correction more than one second

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Application of Absolute Positioning i. ii. iii. iv. v. Surveying and Mapping Navigation Remote Sensing and GIS Geodesy Military

Schematic Diagram of Absolute Positioning

Point positioning range measurements from a passive hand-held GPS receiver

Absolute positioning involves the use of only a single passive receiver at the user's location to collect data from multiple satellites in order to determine the user's georeferenced position. GPS determination of a point position on the earth actually uses a technique common to terrestrial surveying called trilateration (i.e. electronic distance measurement resection). The GPS receiver simply measures the distance (i.e. ranges) between the earth and the NAVSTAR GPS satellites. The position is determined by the resected intersection of the observed ranges to the satellites. At least 3 satellite ranges are required to compute a 3-D position of the antenna (x, y, z). In actual practice, at least 4 satellite observations are required in order to resolve timing variations. Adding more satellite ranges will provide redundancy (and more accuracy) in the position solution. The resultant 3-D coordinate value is relative to the geocentric reference system. The GPS receiver may be operated in a static or dynamic mode.

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2. Relative Positioning Relative positioning is the process of improving the accuracy of positioning systems (such as the GPS system) through the use of multiple (relative) location receivers that are tracking the same location signals. Operation of Relative Positioning In the translocation mode with two or more GPS receivers observing the same satellites simultaneously many common errors, including the major effect of SA (selective availability) get cancelled out, yielding the relative positions of the two or more stations with a very high accuracy. The length of the base line between two stations, and also the absolute position of one of the stations, if an accurate position of the other station is known, can be obtained to centimeter level accuracy, using carrier phase observations. In differencing mode of observation, using single difference (difference of carrier phase observations from two receivers to the same satellite), double difference (between observations from two receivers to two satellite) and triple difference (difference of double differences over two time epochs), effect of many errors such as receiver and satellite clock errors can be minimized. Signal Used of Relative Positioning i. Coarse Acquisition or Clear Acquisition code (C/A code)

Expected Accuracy i. ii. iii. L1 and L2 (5mm +/- 1 ppm) L1 (20mm +/- 2 ppm) Centimeter level

Time Observation Parameter i. Data Correction more than one second at least one hour

Application of Relative Positioning i. ii. iii. iv. v. Land surveying Hydrographic surveying Engineering Topographic Geodetic surveying

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Schematic Diagram of Relative Positioning

This figure shows how relative positioning can be used to increase the accuracy of a GPS position measurement. This example shows a receiver at a known position (the base) and a 2nd receiver at an unknown position (the rover) for relative positioning. This example shows that because the GPS position errors between the base and the rover are approximately the same, the difference between the known and unknown locations can be used to improve the accuracy of the position measurement.

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3. Differential Global Positioning System (DGPS) An enhancement to Global Positioning System that uses a network of fixed, ground-based reference stations to broadcast the difference between the positions indicated by the satellite systems and the known fixed positions. These stations broadcast the difference between the measured satellite pseudoranges and actual (internally computed) pseudoranges, and receiver stations may correct their pseudoranges by the same amount. The correction signal is typically broadcast over UHF radio modem. Operation of DGPS A reference station calculates differential corrections for its own location and time. Users may be up to 200 nautical miles (370 km) from the station, however, and some of the compensated errors vary with space: specifically, satellite ephemeris errors and those introduced by ionospheric and tropospheric distortions. For this reason, the accuracy of DGPS decreases with distance from the reference station. The problem can be aggravated if the user and the station lack "inter visibility" when they are unable to see the same satellites. Signal Used of DGPS i. "coarse acquisition" signal Coarse Acquisition or Clear Acquisition code (C/A) and P code transmitted on the L1 frequency (1575.42 MHz), L2 frequency (1227.6 MHz) Expected Accuracy i. Standardize accuracy 0.5m - 5m Root Mean Square (RMS).

The principle of DGPS is separated into the following classifications: Measurement Type Real-time or Postprocessing Code phase Post-processing Post-processed DGPS, post-processed LADGPS or post-processed WADGPS Page 6 of 11 from < 1 m to From several x 10 ~10 m km to several x 1000 km System Type Accuracy Coverage Area

Code phase

Real time


from < 1 m to From several x 10 ~10 m km to several x 1000 km

Carrier phase

Post-processing Kinematic, rapid static or static

from < 1 cm

From several km

to several cm to several x 1000 km

Carrier phase

Real time

Real-time kinematic

from < 1 cm

From several km

to several cm to several x 10 km Time Observation Parameter. i. Data transmission within one seconds interval.

Applications of DGPS. i. ii. iii. Marine navigations Land surveys Land navigations

Schematic Diagram of DGPS

Based on diagram, two or more receivers observe the same set of satellites, taking similar measurements that produce similar errors when positioned closely together. A reference station, placed at a precisely surveyed position, and it fixed at a geodetically surveyed position which receives and processes GPS satellite position information from orbiting GPS satellites, calculates corrections from the known position, and broadcasts these corrections via a radio beacon to participating DGPS users in the radio beacons coverage area. A control station, Page 7 of 11

which remotely monitors and controls the DGPS broadcast sites via data communications lines. A communications link, which provides data communications between the broadcast sites and the control stations. User equipment, consisting of a GPS receiver and a radio beacon receiver or combination GPS/radio beacon receiver, which automatically applies the corrections to received GPS position information, to achieve position accuracies of better than 10 meters.

4. Real Time Kinematic (RTK) GPS A technique used in land survey and in hydrographic survey based on the use of carrier phase measurements of the GPS, GLONASS and/or Galileo signals where a single reference station provides the real-time corrections, providing up to centimeter-level accuracy. Real-Time Kinematic (RTK) positioning is a powerful application employing GNSS technology to produce and collect three-dimensional (3-D) positions relative to a fixed (stationary) base station with expected relative accuracies in each coordinate component on the order of a centimeter, using minimal epochs of data collection. What is Real Time Kinematic GPS? The style of GPS data collection and processing suggests that one or more GPS stations is moving for example car, aircraft and moving object. Thus, to obtain good results for positioning as a function of time requires that the ambiguities be fixed to integer values. General aspect: The success of kinematic processing depends on separation of sites. There are one or more static base stations and the moving receivers are positioned relative to these: For separations < 10 km, usually easy 10>100 km more difficult but often successful >100 km very mixed results

Operation of RTK Real Time Kinematic GPS, a generalization of the "stop & go" using technique. Instead of coordinating stationary points and disregarding the trajectory of the roving antenna as it moves from site to site, the intention of "kinematic" surveying is to determine the position of the antenna only while it is in motion. That is, the ambiguities must be resolved before starting the survey, and the ambiguities must be re-initialised during the survey when a cycle slip occurs. Page 8 of 11

However, for many applications, such as the positioning of an aircraft (for example, for photogrammetric applications) or a ship (for example, a dredging operation), it is impractical to re-initialise the ambiguities if the "roving" antenna has to return to a stationary control point. Hence much R&D effort has been invested in initially determining (and re-determining after a cycle slip) the ambiguities "on-the-fly". Today the "kinematic" GPS surveying technique is undergoing tremendous improvement and "on-the-fly" ambiguity resolution is a routine procedure (though not yet by any means an entirely foolproof one!), making kinematic surveying techniques ideal for road centreline surveys, hydrographic surveys, airborne applications and many more.

Signal Used of Real Time Kinematic i. ii. L1 (1575.42 M Hz) and L2 (1227.6 M Hz) C/A Code and P Code only

Expected Accuracy i. 2cm +/- 2 part(s) per million(ppm)

Time Observation Parameter. i. ii. Data Correction more than one second at least one minute. Minimum observation time: two epoch or two minute.

Applications of Real Time Kinematic GPS. i. ii. iii. iv. Road centreline surveys Hydrographical surveys Airborne applications Photogrammetry Surveys

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Schematic Diagram of Real Time Kinematic GPS

Single frequency Real Time Kinematic GPS is possible. While this application would mean reduced hardware expense, it also would mean longer initialization times, no on the-fly initialization, less robustness, require shorter baselines and would preclude frequency combinations (such as the L3, iono-free combination). Thus, L1 Real Time Kinematic positioning is not a preferred solution, and will not be further addressed as a unique application in this document. The general principles and best methods for Real Time Kinematic field work still apply, however, and should be applied for L1 work as well.

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References 1. Wikipedia, free encyclopedia 2. The geospatial resources portal 3. Lecture note SUG532

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