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Effects of azimuthal multipath asymmetry on long GPS coordinate time series

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Sibylle Goebell, Professor Matt King


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Carrier phase multipath is currently one source of unmodeled signals that may bias GPS coordinate time series significantly. We investigate the effect of simulated carrier phase multipath on time series of several sites covering the period 2002.0-2008.0 and spanning a range of observation geometries. High-, mid-, and low-latitude IGS sites are investigated as well as sites with significant signal obstructions. We examine the effect of multipath in different sectors of the sky, considering time-constant, horizontal reflectors at each of 0.1, 0.2, and 1.5 m below the antenna. The differences between a horizontally uniform multipath source are analyzed, and it is shown that positioning errors are generally larger when unmodeled carrier phase multipath is azimuthally heterogeneous. Using the adopted multipath model, height biases reach +/- 1 mm in case of the symmetric multipath and +/- 5 mm for the asymmetric multipath but this increases to being +/- 10 mm in the worst case. In addition to mean bias, low-frequency variations in the bias also exist, including periodic signals and leading to velocity biases of up to +/- 0.1 mm/year in the symmetric case and +/- 1 mm/year in the asymmetric case over the considered period. In contrast to the generally slowly varying observation geometry that is typically experienced, we show the effects of an abrupt change in geometry due to receiver/antenna hardware changes; in the case considered, we see changed pattern of temporal variation in the bias in addition to an instantaneous offset.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Goebell S, King MA

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: GPS Solutions

Year: 2011

Volume: 15

Issue: 3

Pages: 287-297

Print publication date: 23/05/2011

ISSN (print): 1080-5370

ISSN (electronic): 1521-1886

Publisher: Springer


DOI: 10.1007/s10291-011-0227-7


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