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Errors in GPS Observations

S.D.P.J. Dampegama Senior Lecturer / Superintendent of Surveys Institute of Surveying & Mapping Diyatalawa, Sri Lanka
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Contents
GPS observations are also get contaminated with systematic errors like any other types of observations. Some of these errors are listed as follows. Satellite Clock Bias Satellite Clock Drift Ionospheric Effect Receiver Clock Delay Troposphere Multipath
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Satellite Clock Bias & Drift


Satellite Clock Bias Satellite clock bias is the difference between the satellite clock and GPS time. This can be corrected by using the correction available broadcast clock correction. Satellite Clock Drift On board satellite clocks (Rubidium and Cesium clocks) are independent from each other. Still each clock has its own drift These drift can be determined by continuous monitoring of satellites. The drift for each satellite is determined by control segment and uploaded to the navigation message.
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Ionospheric Effect
The signals from satellites enters to the ionosphere 1000 km. Above the earths surface. The ionosphere will create group delay and phase delay. This delays can be determined by the density of the ionosphere. Even the Suns activity on the ionosphere to be considered. The ionosphere cause the group delay (P, C/A codes & Navigation message gets delayed) and phase delay (L1 & L2 carriers get speeds up ) this negative and positive effects can be used to minimize the error. The ionospheric effect is depending on the frequency. Appetent time delay is less for higher frequencies. There for duel frequency receivers can minimize the ionospheric effects significantly.
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Receiver Clock Error & Tropospheric Error


Receiver Clock Error GPS receivers are equipped with quarts clocks. The accuracy ranges from 10-8 to 10-10. These can be eliminated by observing the fourth satellite. Tropospheric Error The troposphere extends from surface up to 9-16 km. The tropospheric effect is not dependent upon the frequency. It can be minimize by restricting the distance of the wave through the troposphere. This is done by rejecting the signals receiving from satellites near the horizon. Usually 15 cut-off angle will be used for this purpose.
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Tropospheric Error

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Multipath
Multipath is the receiver receiving a signal after getting bounced by near by objects. The effect of multipath can be minimized by careful station selections and by using ground plates. Observing a over a period will also element multipath error.
Direct Path Multi Path

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Multipath

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Multi Path
Multi path can also be reduced by fixing ground plate to the antenna. Ground plate

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Doppler Effect
Due to the relative motion between receiver and the satellite the Doppler frequency shift will occur. This makes frequency increasing when the satellite and the observer is moving towards each other and frequency decreasing when travelling away. This can be detected and corrected by carrier beat phase.

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Corrections
Therefor it is necessary to apply many corrections in order to obtain a accurate position through GPS observations. But almost all receivers can detect these errors and correct them automatically. A simple pseudo range observation equation with errors can be expressed as, R= +c(dt-dT) +dion- dtrop+ R-Pseudo Range - True Range
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