Potential of GPS Common Clock Single-differences for Deformation Monitoring

Steffen Schön 1 , Hue Kiem Pham 1 , Tobias Kersten 1 , Julia Leute 2 , and Andreas Bauch 2
  • 1 Institut für Erdmessung, Leibniz Universität Hannover, Schneiderberg 50, D-30167 Hannover, Germany
  • 2 Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt, Bundesallee 100, D-38116 Braunschweig, Germany
Steffen Schön, Hue Kiem Pham, Tobias Kersten, Julia Leute and Andreas Bauch


Global satellite navigation systems (GNSS) are a standard measurement device for deformation monitoring. In many applications, double-differences are used to reduce distance dependent systematic effects, as well as to eliminate the receiver and satellites clock errors. However, due to the navigation principle of one way ranging used in GPS, the geometry of the subsequent adjustment is weakened. As a result, the height component is generally determined three times less precisely than the horizontal coordinates. In addition, large correlations between the height and elevation dependent effects exist such as tropospheric refraction, mismodelled phase center variations, or multipath which restricts the attainable accuracy. However, for a kinematic analysis, i. e. for estimating high rate coordinate time series, the situation can be significantly improved if a common clock is connected to different GNSS receivers in a network or on a baseline. Consequently, between-station single-differences are sufficient to solve for the baseline coordinates. The positioning geometry is significantly improved which is reflected by a reduction of the standard deviation of kinematic heights by about a factor 3 underlining the benefits of this new approach. Real data from baselines at the Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt campus at Braunschweig where receivers are connected over 290 m via an optical fiber link to a common clock was analysed.

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