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Differential Fundamentals

Introduction to Differential

Differential Fundamentals - Document History

Revision Date Written by Date Controlled by

A 12-03-01 JAN
B 04-09-02 OEM 04-10-02 AR
C 01-14-03 TMM
D 10-11-05 TMM
E 06-21-06 TMM
F 04-12-07 KLH

History Changes
A First issue
B New layout, changes to several slides
C New layout, changes to several slides
D Changes to several slides
E Diff. Correction via SBAS
F Fugro XP / HP

As of today (2007) GPS is
the only GNSS fully
Due to this, DGPS is covered
in this section,
Differential corrections for
other GNSS have the same

Differential Fundamentals - Introduction

A DGPS system improves position accuracy, eliminating GPS timing

and ephemeris errors as well as reducing the influence of atmospheric
delay errors.
A DGPS reference station is located at a known point and can
therefore measure the difference between the surveyed range and the
observed range and calculate the DGPS corrections.

Observed Position:
Co-ordinates [Lat, lon, height] Surveyed Position:
determined from GPS Antenna coordinates
observations [Lat, lon, height]

The difference in co-ordinates is converted into DGPS corrections for each satellite
tracked at the reference station.
Differential Fundamentals - Introduction

After the DGPS corrections have been derived for all visible satellites
they are transmitted to the user by using:

Maritime radio beacons (the IALA beacons)

HF, UHF or VHF radio systems
Satellite-based systems (Inmarsat & Spotbeam)

After DGPS corrections have been received

by the on board DGPS radio receiver the
GPS receiver combines its own range data
with correction data and the DGPS position
is calculated.

Differential Fundamentals Principle

Errors introduced to the GPS signals are often similar over large
geographical areas.

The DGPS principle therefore assumes that major errors like:

Satellite clock and ephemeris errors
Disturbances in the ionosphere and troposphere

are of the same magnitude at both the reference station and the mobile

The corrections, when processed and incorporated into measurements

in the user GPS receiver, virtually eliminates errors common to both
the DGPS reference station and the on-board GPS receiver.

Is the Differential Principle Always True?

Differential Calculation

On Board At Ref.
Actual distance 20.500.000.0
Measured distance 20.505.000.0 20.500.034.2
Correction -34.2 -34.2
Corrected distance onboard 20.504.965.8

Is the Differential Principle Always True?

Around the equator and in the polar regions the ionospheric

disturbances varies over short geographical areas causing single
frequency DGPS not to work satisfactory at all times.

By actually calculating the ionospheric error contribution to the range

measurements at the reference station and at the user location the
ionospheric error source can be eliminated.

On board observations (USER) Calculated at reference station (RS)

Observed_Range_USER DGPScorr_RS
IonoDelay_USER IonoDelay_RS

On board calculation of corrected range (Corrected_Range)

Corrected_Range =
Observed_Range_USER - DGPScorr_RS + IonoDelay_USER - IonoDelay_RS

Is the Differential Principle Always True?

Ionospheric Delay Errors are calculated from observing the time

difference in the received signal on the L1 and L2 frequency multiplied
with speed of light.

The DPS 132 incorporates a dual

frequency receiver which is capable of
determining ionospheric delay errors IonoDelay
in the received signal. IonoDelay calculated by
calculated Reference Station
by DPS 132
When ionospheric delay errors
determined at the reference station
are combinded with ionospheric delay
errors in the received signal,
the ionospheric delay errors are
almost eliminated!

Is the Differential Principle Always True?

Including IONO correction On Board At Ref.

Actual distance 20.500.000.0
Measured distance 20.505.000.0 20.500.034.2
Correction -34.2 -34.2
Correction due to IONO -10.0 -20.0
Actual Correction (-34.2-(-20.0)+(-10)) -24.2
Corrected distance onboard 20.504.975.8

NOT including IONO correction On Board At Ref.

Actual distance 20.500.000.0
Measured distance 20.505.000.0 20.500.034.2
Correction -34.2 -34.2
Corrected distance onboard 20.504.965.8

Calculating & Applying
Differential Corrections


Calculating Differential Corrections

GPS satellite co-ordinates

Transmitted signal t0
[X, Y, Z]sat transmitted

Observed range = speed of light * (t1 - t0) Calculated range = [X, Y, Z]sat - [X, Y, Z]ant

Reference station GPS antenna

co-ordinates [X, Y, Z]ant

DGPS Correction = Calculated range - Observed range

Received signal t1
Calculating Differential Corrections

The reference station calculates DGPS

corrections since the GPS reference
station antenna position is known

C-O = Range Error = DGPS

GPS reference station
antenna [x, y, z] position

DGPS Corrections


Calculating Differential Corrections

The "same" range measurements

determining the DGPS corrections
at the reference station are
received by the on board GPS

Calculating Differential Corrections

After the DGPS corrections

are received on board they
are added to their respective
range measurements.

DGPS Transmission
and on board DGPS
GPS Antenna


Estimating EPE from Remaining Errors

After correcting the on board GPS ranges there

will always be remaining errors in the ranges
which DGPS does not compensate for.

The remaining errors after

applying the corrections are used
to estimate DPS position accuracy
(reported by the EPE number).

DGPS Fundamentals - DGPS Error Budget

Standalone Standalone DGPS

Error Source Single Frq. GPS Dual Frq. GPS 500 km

Satellite clock stability 2,0 2,0 0,0

Ephemeris error 2,0 2,0 0,0

Ionospheric delay 5,0 0,5 0,5

Tropospheric delay 0,5 0,5 0,1

Receiver white noise 0,3 0,3 0,4

Receiver multipath 0,5 0,5 0,7

Total Range Error
(1 sigma, 67%) 5,8 2,2 0,9

Hor. Error (HDOP 1.0) 5,8 2,2 0,9

Hor. Error
(2 sigma, 95%) 14,2 5,4 2,2


DGPS Fundamentals - DGPS Summary



Satellite Based Augmentation System


Other Corrections


WAAS - Wide Area Augmentation System (USA operating)

CWAS Canadian Wide Augmentation System (Canada - Project)

EGNOS - European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service
(Europe Testing - ready 2008?)
GAGAN- GPS Aided Geo Augmented Navigation
(India Project ready 2008?)
MSAS- Multi-Functional Satellite Augmentation System
(Japan/Australia - project)
SNAS- Satellite Navigation Augmentation Service (China/Asia project)



30 ranging and integrity monitoring stations (RIMS)

4 master control centres
6 up-link stations.
Up-linked to 3 geo-stationary satellites 22

29 Wide-area Reference Stations (WRS) (incr. to 38 in future)

2 Wide-area Master Stations (WMS)
Uplinked to 3 geostationary satellites (1 more testing)

Ionospheric corrections

WAAS and
EGNOS supplies
ionospheric delay
corrections for a
number of points
(organized in a
grid pattern) across
service area

Carrier Phase based systems
Offered by Fugro


Fugro Skyfix XP decimeter accuracy world wide

Satellite Differential GPS
Orbit / clock solution, correcting the satellite for orbit /clock errors
Capable of 10cm accuracy in horizontal domain and 15cm in vertical domain
Truly global coverage with no range restrictions from stations
Dual delivery satellite beams
Extensive QC monitoring in line with UKOOA standards
Real-time system performance information available on-line
Other Corrections

Fugro Starfix HP decimeter accuracy

Differential GPS

Network solution
Wide Area coverage with high accuracy
High update rates with a reliable data link
Central 24 hour monitoring and quality control
Use on land and at sea
Supporting multi-reference station positioning
High Power and Low Power (Inmarsat)