The answer to this question may seem obvious. We all want to get the best data possible when using a GPS or GNSS receiver, right? So how can we accomplish that?

Many of us are happy with real time corrections. But, what if real time corrections are not available? In North America, most of us can take advantage of WAAS (Wide Area Augmentation System) or SBAS (Satellite-Based Augmentation System). The four WAAS satellites are over the equator in a geostationary orbit. This means they are in a fixed point in space. The key to successful use of this correction signal is whether or not the GPS antenna has a clear view to the south. If not, then you must collect uncorrected data and then apply corrections back in the office.

But should you apply corrections to your field data in all cases? The answer may be “no.”

Through experimentation and years of experience, we have discovered, with the help of our conscientious customers, that when using a SiRF-based GPS receiver, it is not always in the best interest of data quality, to post process (apply corrections to) field collected data.

The SiRF Company is located in San Jose, CA. They arguably make the most sensitive GPS chipset in the entire world. But, in the GPS industry, sensitivity is often equated with error. The SiRF receiver has the ability to pick up GPS signals not only coming directly from the satellites, but from everywhere. This means that signals bouncing off trees, rock outcroppings, lakes, roads or any object in the vicinity could be acceptable to the receiver.

In order to obtain high-quality measurements from satellites, which in turn, equate to signal integrity, a field user does not want their GPS unit to pick up signals other than those coming directly from the satellites. Received signals that have bounced off other objects have the effect of producing an error in position. So, when working in a High Multipath Environment, the SiRF-base receiver is especially subject to this type of error.

Multipath is an apt term. It describes a condition where the signal from the satellite takes more than one path to the GPS antenna; the direct path and the bounced or reflected path. Since the receiver is able to determine your location on the ground based on a calculated distance between the GPS antenna and each satellite in view, collecting a myriad of “bounced” signals will have a detrimental effect on your position. The error in position can be dramatic.

The next logical step to improve the accuracy of your positions would be to apply corrections using a differential correction software program. However, here is what we discovered:

When using a SiRF-based receiver in an open environment where there are very few obstructions higher than the GPS antenna, applying corrections to the field data by post processing will improve the accuracy over the uncorrected data collected in the field.

But, when using that same receiver in a High Multipath Environment, applying corrections to the field data will often magnify the errors. This happens because differential correction software programs like Pathfinder Office, Trimble Positions Desktop and GPS Analyst make certain assumptions as to what type of data is contained in the file. SiRF-base receivers have no filtering algorithms built into the design of the hardware or firmware, so it’s not uncommon to actually add error to the field data when applying corrections.

The following Trimble GPS units use a SiRF-base chipset:

  1. Juno 3B
  2. Nomad 900G
  3. Yuma

The Juno 5B and the Yuma2 use a u-blox brand receiver. The same result after post processing has occurred with this receiver type as well.

More sophisticated GPS and GNSS receivers produce much better results for several reasons. Features in these unit include:

  1. Better Antenna Design – an antenna that has a built-in ground plane to prevent the collection of signals bouncing off the ground or that emanate below the elevation mask set in the data collection software. An antenna that has a more precise phase center to focus the reception of satellite signals in a smaller area.
  2. Better Receiver Design – receivers that collect more of the data being broadcast by the satellites that assist in modeling out errors in the ionosphere.
  3. Everest Technology – this is a built-in multipath filter. The filter senses when a solitary signal bounce has occurred so the signal is rejected. Everest Technology is capable of filtering out 80-85% of Multipath that would normally be collected without that filter.
  4. Better Electronic Shielding – many receivers have GPS, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, cameras, cellular modems and color screens, all which emanate frequencies that could interfere with each other, diminishing the ability of the unit to perform. Higher accuracy receivers do a much better job of keeping these signal separate, insuring top performance and minimizing frequency crosstalk.

These types of receivers are superior in performance and always take full advantage of post processing by producing excellent results. These receivers are:

  1. Geo7X
  2. Geo6000
  3. Geo5T
  4. Geo 2008-3000
  5. ProXRT

When we get a request from a customer wanting to use GPS on a project, there are some very important questions we ask:

  1. Does your project have an accuracy requirement?
  2. What kind of environment will you be working in? Wet or dry? Open or obstructed?
  3. Do you need to know where you are while in the field, or will you accept post processed solutions?
  4. And of course,…..what is your budget?

Our job is to consult with you thoroughly so we can recommend the solution that will work. Not everyone needs the most accurate system on the market. We also don’t want to recommend a system that will disappoint you.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We want to be a trusted, integral member of your team and only benefit if we can provide you with a solution.

Solutions

Frontier Precision has a 30-year plus track record of helping you provide a measure of excellence. It all ladders back to our core philosophy of How You Measure Matters. It’s why each day, we seamlessly connect the physical and digital worlds through technology to improve how we all better interact with the earth in meaningful ways. Our tools and solutions make you more efficient, productive, and most importantly, profitable.

Products

Frontier Precision knows that every measurement its customers take is important. It’s why Frontier Precision not only offers the latest, cutting-edge measurement tools, but also understand the continuing need for service and support — because How You Measure Matters encompasses the total customer experience.

Professional Services

From Geospatial Services to GIS Professional Services to Water Resources Data Acquisition Services, Frontier Precision delivers leading-edge measurement technology. We’ve been there, every centimeter of the way, as geospatial technology has evolved. No matter what your need for accurate measurement, we have the experience and expertise to create a customized solution for you.

 

Training & Events

We give you the proper training on the solutions we sell. Sign up for Professional Certified Training to get up and running quickly — all backed by the most experience in the industry. Whether onsite, online or in the classroom, we are helping make our customers efficient, productive, and profitable with today’ s and tomorrow’s technology.

Support

Frontier Precision provides world-class support from centers across a wide section of the western United States. Need support for any geospacial products, software or services?

Contact Frontier Precision at 800-359-3703.

About Frontier Precision

Frontier Precision’s measure of excellence can be traced back to 1988. Four years later, in 1991, Frontier Precision partnered with Trimble — a United States-based GPS equipment manufacturer at the time, and the rest is history. Since then, Frontier Precision has grown with Trimble to be one their largest and best geospatial distributors in the world.

We’ve been at the frontier of technology for three decades, continually offering customers new tools and solutions, all with our end goal in mind to help make our customers efficient, productive, and profitable with today’s and tomorrow’s technology. Frontier Precision is an employee-owned company — each of our team members is committed to your success.

Contact Frontier Precision

WHEREVER YOU ARE, WE ARE.

From our original office in Bismarck, North Dakota, we’ve grown our footprint thousands of miles in every direction.Today, you’ll also find us in South Dakota, Minnesota, Colorado, Alaska, Montana, Idaho, Hawaii, Wyoming, Oregon and Washington — delivering the Frontier Precision difference to more people each day.