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Journal of Geodetic Science

Editor-in-Chief: Eshagh, Mehdi

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Ocean Wave Measurement Using GPS Buoys

G. Joodaki
  • Corresponding author
  • Division of Geomatics, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, N-7491 Trondheim, Norway
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/ H. Nahavandchi
  • Corresponding author
  • Division of Geomatics, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, N-7491 Trondheim, Norway
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/ K. Cheng
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  • Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, National Chung Cheng University, 168 University Road, Minhsiung Township, Chiayi 62102, Taiwan
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Published Online: 2013-10-15 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.2478/jogs-2013-0023


The observation of ocean wave parameters is necessary to improve forecasts of ocean wave conditions. In this paper, we investigate the viability of using a single GPS receiver to measure ocean-surface waves, and present a method to enhance the accuracy of the estimated wave parameters. The application of high-pass filtering to GPS data in conjunction with directional wave spectral theory is a core concept in this article. Laboratory experiments were conducted to test the viability and accuracy measurements of wave parameters made by a single GPS receiver buoy. These tests identified an error of less than 1% for the rotational arm measurement (wave height) and an error of 1% in verifications of the wave direction and wave period, and showed a 0.488 s bias; this is sufficiently accurate for many specific purposes. These results are based on the best cut-off frequency value derived in this study. A moored-sea GPS buoy on the Taiwanese coast was used to estimate the GPS-derived wave parameters. Our results indicate that data from a single GPS receiver, processed with the presented method to reduce the error of the estimated parameters, can provide measurements of ocean surface wave to reasonable accuracy.

Keywords: GPS buoy; high pass filter; laboratory experiment; moored-sea trial; ocean wave measurements

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About the article

Published Online: 2013-10-15

Published in Print: 2013-09-01

Citation Information: Journal of Geodetic Science, Volume 3, Issue 3, Pages 163–172, ISSN (Online) 2081-9943, ISSN (Print) 2081-9919, DOI: https://doi.org/10.2478/jogs-2013-0023.

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