An examination of network RTK GPS services in Great Britain

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Stuart Edwards, Peter John Clarke, Nigel Penna, Sibylle Goebell


As of March 2009, network real-time kinematic (RTK) GPS surveying is available in Great Britain with the aid of two commercial service providers, Leica’s “SmartNet” and Trimble’s “VRS Now”, both of which rely largely on the Ordnance Survey’s “OS Net” network of around 120 continuously operating reference stations. With the aim of testing the performance of Network RTK under both ideal and less-ideal conditions (greater distances and elevation differences from the nearest reference stations, proximity to the edges of OS Net, and increased susceptibility to ocean tide loading effects), we have tested the positional accuracy of both commercial Network RTK systems by comparison with precise coordinates determined using the Bernese scientific GPS processing software, at six representative locations spanning England and Wales. We find that the coordinate quality measures provided by the Network RTK solutions are overall representative of the actual coordinate accuracy, which is typically 10-20 mm in plan and 15-35 mm in height, and can be successfully used to identify outliers. Positional accuracy tends to be poorest outside of the bounds of OS Net and at greater elevation differences from nearby reference stations. Averaging of coordinates over two short windows separated by 20-45 minutes can be used to achieve moderate improvements in coordinate accuracy without the need for single long occupations of sites.



Civil and Environmental Engineering, Civil Engineering, Construction Engineering and Management, Earth Sciences, Engineering, Environmental Monitoring, Environmental Sciences, Geophysics and Seismology, Other Civil and Environmental Engineering, Other Earth Sciences, Other Environmental Sciences, Other Physical Sciences and Mathematics, Physical Sciences and Mathematics


Global Positioning System (GPS), Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS), Network real-time kinematic (RTK) positioning, quality measures


Published: 2017-11-13 08:28


CC BY Attribution 4.0 International

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