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Course 136 Details

Course 136: Practical GPS for Professional Users (1.8 CEUs) On-Site Only
Instructors: Mr. Franck Boynton, VP and CTO, NavtechGPS and Dr. Michael Braasch


To provide a practical and conceptual grasp of GPS and DGPS principles, applications and equipment. This 3-day course is designed so that an engineering background is not required or expected. (Almost no math will be committed in this course.) For more information about this course, see details below. This course is intended for those who are new to GPS and provides the attendee with a practical and conceptual grasp of GPS and differential GPS, and its principles, applications and equipment.


  • To provide a practical and conceptual grasp of GPS and DGPS principles, applications and equipment. The course is designed such that an engineering background is not required or expected.
  • Almost no math will be committed in this course!
  • To present GPS concepts and equipment applications with informative, easy-to-follow presentations using clear figures, computer demonstrations, and live GPS equipment.
  • To bring professional GPS users, technical sales staff, and others up to speed quickly on GPS and DGPS.
  • To offer practical engineering guidance and data to attendees making decisions regarding equipment use, selection or purchase.

Who Should Attend?

  • Those entering the GPS field who need a rapid grounding in GPS and DGPS principles, techniques, status, equipment practicalities and applications.
  • Professional users who wish to better understand new developments in GPS and DGPS, as well as future capabilities.
  • Those involved in making business decisions about GPS.
  • Sales, marketing and advanced development staff requiring a better understanding of GPS and DGPS operation, applications, and potential markets.

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 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

Note: Any books for on-site group contracts are negotiated on a case by case basis. Recommended books for this course include Introduction to GPS: The Global Positioning System, 2nd ed., Ahmed El-Rabbany, Artech House, 2006., OR Global Positioning System: Signals, Measurement and Performance, P. Misra and P. Enge, 2nd ed., 2011.

Course Outline     PDF Course Outline     On-Site Information

Day 1, Morning

GPS System Description
● System segments
● Basic principles of operation
GNSS Signal Structure
● Signal requirements
● Pseudorandom Noise Codes (PRN)
● Auto and cross-correlation
● Modulation and spread spectrum
● Navigation data
● Signal power levels
Navigation Solution and Error Sources
● Pseudorange measurements
● Least squares

Day 1, Afternoon

● Receivers: Basic Elements and Functionality
● Overview
● Front end
● Signal processing
● Acquisition
● Tracking
Clocks and Timing
● Role of timing in GPS
● Timescales: solar time, atomic time, UTC, GPS time
● Clock stability, Allan deviation
● GPS satellite clock characteristics and broadcast corrections
● Receiver clock characteristics
Orbits and Constellation
● Coordinate frames and geodesy
● Two-body orbits
● Orbit perturbations
● GPS satellite orbit representations
● GPS constellation

Day 2, Morning

Error Models
● Signal in space performance due to ephemeris and satellite clocks
● Ionospheric errors: dual frequency corrections, broadcast model
● Tropospheric errors: cause, mitigation using antennas, siting, signal processing
● Multipath effects: cause, mitigation using antennas, siting, signal processing
● Tracking errors
● Error budget
Precise Positioning Differential Techniques
● Precise positioning concepts
● Carrier phase models: single, double, tiple differences
● Ambiguity resolution
● Reference stations: local and global networks
● Precise orbits and clocks
● RINEX data format
● Software: overview of packages and online tools for precise positioning
Military SAASM vs. Civilian Receiver Functionality
● Standard Receiver Interfaces
● Military performance features
● Advanced performance features

Day 2, Afternoon

Types of GPS Acquisition & Processing
● Post-processing: code, carrier phase
● Real-time: autonomous, DGPS code, DGPS carrier phase, assisted correction (E911)
● Data links, WAAS, OmniSTAR, StarFire, CORS, USCG
● Functionality and methods used for applications
● Review of different correction methods. How to implement and use each one.
● Accuracy levels and trade-offs
Anatomy of a GPS Receiver System
● From the GPS satellite transmission antenna to data output; what happens in between?
● Transmission of GPS signals from spacecraft
● Atmospheric effects on signal, range loss
● User equipment: antenna, RF cable, GPS receiver, RF front-end, digital processing
● Processing, real time DGPS corrections, user settings, data storage types, output information
GPS Receiver Hardware Types
● Commercial GPS stand-alone receivers
● GPS boards, antennas, antenna pre-amps
● Differential receivers and accessories
● Data link equipment, coverage regions
● Survey receivers and software

Day 3, Morning

Operations of Systems
● Equipment operation, observations
● Data, data logging, GPS analysis programs
● Post processing of data
Component Integration Principles
● Typical available components
● Integration guidelines
● Connectors, adaptors
● Power requirements, batteries, characteristics
● Commercial protocols
● Signal compatibility
● Typical projects
● Operating system examples
GPS Applications: Land
● GIS Development: Data collection demonstration
● Geographic Information System (GIS) needs, types
● What can it do for me?
● How does it typically operate?
● Aux. systems: laser, optical range finder, camera

Day 3, Afternoon

Working Indoors to Test Your Equipment: Signal Repeater and Hardware Techniques
● GPS Signal Repeater and Hardware Techniques
● Equipment needed: antennas, amps, etc.
● Calculating gain and transmission distances
● Accuracies and hard-wire connections
● Safety concerns, and RF emission regulations
● Installation guidelines
New Signals and Systems: GPS Modernization, GLONASS, Galileo, Compass, future systems
● What will be available in the future?
Practical equipment issues
● Things to consider before starting to work
● Troubleshooting problems in the field
● How to tell if you’re getting the results you need.
● What you can do yourself and when to call for help
● Help sources

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