Journal of Applied Geodesy
Editor-in-Chief: Kahmen, Heribert / Rizos, Chris
CiteScore 2018: 1.61
SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2018: 0.532
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2018: 1.064
Quality assessment of a network-based RTK GPS service in the UK
Network-based Real Time Kinematic (NRTK) GPS positioning is considered to be a superior solution compared to the conventional single reference station based Real Time Kinematic (RTK) GPS positioning technique whose accuracy is highly affected by the distance dependent errors such as satellite orbital and atmospheric biases. NRTK GPS positioning uses raw measurements gathered from a network of Continuously Operating Reference Stations (CORS) in order to generate more reliable error models that can mitigate the distance dependent errors within the area covered by the CORS. This technique has been developed and tested considerably during recent years and the overall performance in terms of achievable accuracies, reliability and mobility is as good as or even better than can be achieved using the conventional RTK GPS positioning technique.
Currently, there are several commercial NRTK services around the world. In the United Kingdom (UK), for instance, Leica Geosystems in partnership with Ordnance Survey has been offering a NRTK GPS service since 2006. This service is called SmartNet and it can provide continuous centimetric level of accuracy to its subscribers.
However, NRTK GPS positioning is particularly constrained by wireless data link coverage, correction transmission delay and completeness, GPS signal availability, etc., which could downgrade the positioning quality of the NRTK results.
The paper presents some preliminary testing results of an investigation of the SmartNet service from the end users' point of view. A snapshot of the service's performance was carried out as part of a recent PhD studentship jointly awarded by the UK's Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and Leica Geosystems (UK) to conduct comprehensive research into NRTK GPS quality control measures at the Institute of Engineering Surveying and Space Geodesy (IESSG), the University of Nottingham. In order to evaluate the service's quality several static and kinematic tests were performed using the same type of equipment and in the same way that the SmartNet subscribers would have used it.
Centimetric accuracy was generally attained during both static and kinematic tests. This high accuracy was only affected by some level of unavailability mainly caused by GPS signal blockage. Additionally, the influence of the number of satellites in view, dilution of precision (DOP) and age of corrections (AoC) over the accuracy and stability of the NRTK GPS solution was also investigated during this research and presented in the paper.
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