Assessment of commercial network RTK user positioning performance over long inter-station distances

Wang, Charles, Feng, Yanming, Higgins, Matthew, & Cowie, Ben (2010) Assessment of commercial network RTK user positioning performance over long inter-station distances. Journal of Global Positioning Systems, 9(1), pp. 78-89.

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The paper provides an assessment of the performance of commercial Real Time Kinematic (RTK) systems over longer than recommended inter-station distances. The experiments were set up to test and analyse solutions from the i-MAX, MAX and VRS systems being operated with three triangle shaped network cells, each having an average inter-station distance of 69km, 118km and 166km. The performance characteristics appraised included initialization success rate, initialization time, RTK position accuracy and availability, ambiguity resolution risk and RTK integrity risk in order to provide a wider perspective of the performance of the testing systems. ----- -----

The results showed that the performances of all network RTK solutions assessed were affected by the increase in the inter-station distances to similar degrees. The MAX solution achieved the highest initialization success rate of 96.6% on average, albeit with a longer initialisation time. Two VRS approaches achieved lower initialization success rate of 80% over the large triangle. In terms of RTK positioning accuracy after successful initialisation, the results indicated a good agreement between the actual error growth in both horizontal and vertical components and the accuracy specified in the RMS and part per million (ppm) values by the manufacturers. ----- -----

Additionally, the VRS approaches performed better than the MAX and i-MAX when being tested under the standard triangle network with a mean inter-station distance of 69km. However as the inter-station distance increases, the network RTK software may fail to generate VRS correction and then may turn to operate in the nearest single-base RTK (or RAW) mode. The position uncertainty reached beyond 2 meters occasionally, showing that the RTK rover software was using an incorrect ambiguity fixed solution to estimate the rover position rather than automatically dropping back to using an ambiguity float solution. Results identified that the risk of incorrectly resolving ambiguities reached 18%, 20%, 13% and 25% for i-MAX, MAX, Leica VRS and Trimble VRS respectively when operating over the large triangle network. Additionally, the Coordinate Quality indicator values given by the Leica GX1230 GG rover receiver tended to be over-optimistic and not functioning well with the identification of incorrectly fixed integer ambiguity solutions. In summary, this independent assessment has identified some problems and failures that can occur in all of the systems tested, especially when being pushed beyond the recommended limits. While such failures are expected, they can offer useful insights into where users should be wary and how manufacturers might improve their products. The results also demonstrate that integrity monitoring of RTK solutions is indeed necessary for precision applications, thus deserving serious attention from researchers and system providers.

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ID Code: 40391
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Additional URLs:
DOI: 10.5081/jgps.9.1.78
ISSN: 1446-3156
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > INFORMATION AND COMPUTING SCIENCES (080000) > COMPUTER SOFTWARE (080300)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > ENGINEERING (090000) > GEOMATIC ENGINEERING (090900) > Navigation and Position Fixing (090904)
Divisions: Past > Schools > Computer Science
Past > QUT Faculties & Divisions > Faculty of Science and Technology
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2010 International Association of Chinese Professionals in Global Positioning Systems
Deposited On: 02 Mar 2011 22:26
Last Modified: 29 Feb 2012 14:31

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