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Course 346 Details

Course 346: GPS / GNSS Operation for Engineers & Technical Professionals: Principles, Technology, Applications and Intro to Basic DGPS Concepts (2.4 CEUs) (Public and On-Site)
Instructor(s): Dr. Chris Hegarty, MITRE, OR Dr. Michael Braasch, Ohio University OR Dr. Stephen Heppe, Consultant


This is a 4-day version of our popular 5-day Course 356, condensed  for those who want less emphasis on DGPS and Kalman filtering, but still want exposure to the concepts as they apply to GNSS. Attendees will still get a comprehensive introduction to GPS, an overview of DGPS technology, system concepts, design, operation, an introduction to Kalman filtering, and implementation and applications.


  • A comprehensive introduction to GPS, system concepts, an introduction to differential GPS (DGPS), design, operation, implementation and applications.
  • A detailed information on the GPS signal, its processing by the receiver, and the techniques by which GPS obtains position, velocity and time.
  • To present current information on the status, plans, schedule and capabilities of GPS, as well as of other satellite-based systems with position velocity and time determination applications.
  • Information to fill in technical information gaps for those working in the GPS and GNSS fields.


Familiarity with engineering terms and analysis techniques. General familiarity with matrix operations and familiarity with signal processing techniques is desirable.

Who Should Attend?

Excellent for engineering staff who need to be rapidly brought up to speed on GPS and for those already working in GPS who need exposure to the system as a whole in order to work more effectively.

Materials You Will Keep

  • A color electronic copy of all course notes will be provided on a USB Drive or CD-ROM. Bringing a laptop to this class is highly recommended for taking notes using the Adobe Acrobat® sticky notes feature; power access will be provided. 
  • A black and white hard copy of the course notes will also be provided. 

Course Fee Entitles You to the Following Books

Understanding GPS: Principles and Applications, 2nd ed., Elliott Kaplan & Chris Hegarty, Eds., Artech House, 2006, OR Global Positioning System: Signals, Measurement and Performance, P. Misra and P. Enge, 2nd ed., 2011. (Note: This arrangement does not apply to on-site contracts. Any books for on-site group contracts are negotiated on a case by case basis.)

What Attendees Have Said

"I thought it was a superb class. The topics, slides and instructor were great. The instructor’s knowledge and passion really shined through. Chris was very thorough and gave me a great understanding and appreciation of GPS. He was very engaging, knowledgeable and receptive to questions. I’m an embedded guy so knowing what the code and hardware do and knowing what the settings I’m changing actually do is extremely helpful!"
             — Steven Zhan, Johns Hopkins University/Applied Physics Lab (April 2014)
"This course gave me a solid understanding of how GPS is calculated and verified, as well as the different types of GPS in use today."
             — Rachel Anaya, Transportation Technology Center, Inc., Pueblo, Colorado (April 2014)
"Yes, I would recommend this course in all areas. It had a good foundation and decent details to guide the student to topics that will mostly interest them … . Chris is a dynamic speaker with good voice modulation and is very well informed. His willingness to dig deeper before and after class was much appreciated.
             — Kim Perkoski, Johns Hopkins University/Applied Physics Lab (April 2014)
"I recommend the full course for comprehending the scope of GNSS systems. I would especially recommend the parts specifying how GNSS computes position and the different levels of accuracy."
             — Danny Yen, Applanix (April 2014)
"Really great not a wasted word. He [Dr. Chris Hegarty] really knows his stuff and answered all questions in great detail. Any colleagues that need an intro or refresher on basic GPS theory would benefit from taking at least the Monday [Course 111] session."
             — Grismika Gupta, NovAtel (February 2014)

Day 1, Morning

Fundamentals of GPS Operation. Overview of how the system works. U.S. policy and current status. 

GPS System Description
  • Overview and terminology
  • Principles of operation
  • Augmentations
  • Trilateration
  • Performance overview
  • Modernization
GPS Policy and Context
  • Condensed navigation system history
  • GPS policy and governance
  • Modernization program
  • Ground segment
  • Other satellite navigation systems
GPS Applications
  • Land
  • Marine
  • Aviation
  • Science
  • Personal navigation
  • Accuracy measures
  • Error sources

Day 1, Afternoon

Legacy of GPS Signals
  • Signal structure and characteristics
  • Modulations: BPSK, DSSS, BOC
  • Signal generation
  • Navigation data
Measurements and Positioning
  • Pseudorange and carrier phase measurements
  • Least squares solution
  • Dilution of precision
  • Types of positioning solutions
GPS Receiver Basics
  • Types of receivers
  • Functional overview
  • Antennas

Day 2, Morning

GPS Principles and Technologies

Clocks and Timing
  • Importance of GPS
  • Timescales
  • Clock types
  • Stability measures
  • Relativistic effects
Geodesy and Satellite Orbits
  • Coordinate frames and geodesy
  • Satellite orbits
  • Orbit perturbations
  • GPS constellation
  • Constellation maintenance
Satellites and Control Segment
  • GPS satellite blocks
  • Control segment components and operation
  • Monitor stations, MCS, and ground antennas
  • Upload operations
  • Ground control modernization

Day 2, Afternoon

Error Sources and Models
  • Source of error and correction models
  • GPS signal in space performance
  • Ionospheric and tropospheric effects
  • Multipath
  • Error budget
Augmentations and Other Constellations
  • Augmentations: local-area, satellite-based and regional
  • Russia's GLONASS
  • Europe's Galileo
  • China's Compass (BeiDou)
Precise Positioning
  • Precise positioning concepts
  • Reference station networks
  • Precise orbits and clocks
  • RINEX data format

Day 3, Morning

Differential GPS Overview
  • Local- and wide-area architectures
  • Code vs. carrier-phase based systems
  • Data links: pseudolites
  • Performance overview
Differential Concepts
  • Differential error sources
  • Measurement processing
  • Ambiguity resolution
  • Error budgets
DGPS Standards and Systems
  • RTCM SC104 message format 
  • USCG maritime DGPS and National DGPS (NDGPS)
  • Commercial satellite-based systems
  • Aviation systems: satellite-based and ground-based (SBAS/GBAS)
  • RINEX format, CORS & IGS networks
  • Precise time transfer

Day3, Afternoon

GPS Signal Structure and Message Content
  • Signal structures
  • Signal properties  
  • Navigation message
GPS Receiver Overview
  • Functional overview
  • Synchronization concepts
  • Acquisition
  • Code tracking
  • Carrier tracking
  • Data demodulation
GPS Antennas
  • Antenna types
  • Antenna performance characteristics
  • Prefilters
  • Low-noise amplifiers (LNAs)
  • Noise figure

Day 4, Morning

GPS Signal Processing
  • In-phase and quadra-phase signal paths
  • Analog-to-digital (A/D) conversion
  • Automatic gain control (AGC)
  • Correlation channels
  • Acquisition strategies
Code Tracking, Carrier Tracking & Data Demodulation
  • Delay locked loop (DLL) implementations; performance
  • Frequency locked loops (FLLs)
  • Phase locked loops (PLLs)
  • Carrier-aiding of DLLs
  • Data demodulation
Receiver Impairments and Enhancements
  • Impairments: bandlimiting, oscillators, multipath, interference
  • Ehancements: carrier smoothing, narrow correlator, codeless/semicodeless tracking, vector tracking , external aiding

Day 4, Afternoon

GPS Navigation Algorithms: Point Solutions
  • Pseudorange measurement models
  • Point solution method and example 
Introduction to Kalman Filtering
  • Algorithm overview
  • Process and measurement models for navigation
  • Simulation examples 
Practical Aspects
  • Types of GPS and DGPS receivers
  • Understanding specification sheets
  • Data links
  • Antennas
  • Receiver and interface standards
  • Accessories
  • Supplemental notes: Tracing a GPS signal through a receiver

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