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Course 356 Details

Course 356: GPS and DGPS Operation for Engineers & Technical Professionals: Principles, Technology, Applications and DGPS Concepts (3.0 CEUs) On-Site Only
Instructor(s): Dr. Chris Hegarty, MITRE, OR Dr. Michael Braasch, Ohio University  


This 5-day course offers a comprehensive introduction to GPS and DGPS technology, system concepts, design, operation, implementation and applications, including detailed information on the GPS signal, its processing by the receiver, and the techniques by which GPS obtains position, velocity and time. This course is presented by two highly respected instructors who bring their unique experiences and professional expertise to the class. This course is similar to  Course 346, except that Course 356 has three additional hours of Differential GPS and two additional hours of Kalman filtering, to provide the attendee with more in-depth informations on these critical topics as they apply to GNSS.

See details below for more information about this course. (Note: This course encompasses Courses 111, 122, 217, 336 and 356B. If you have selected this course, do not separately select any of these course numbers.)


  • To give a comprehensive introduction to GPS and DGPS technology, system concepts, design, operation, implementation and applications, including critical information on DGPS and Kalman filtering concepts.
  • To provide 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.
  • 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 is desirable for Thursday and Friday, and familiarity with signal processing techniques is desirable for Wednesday through Friday. (The materials for days 3, 4 and 5 of Course 356 are more intensive than what is taught in Course 346.)

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® stick 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 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." (Comments from Course 346; Dr. Chris Hegarty, Instructor)
         —  Danny Yen, Applanix
"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!" (Comments from Course 346; Dr. Chris Hegarty, Instructor)
        — Steven Zhan, Johns Hopkins University/Applied Physics Lab


Monday 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
  • Augmentation
  • Trilateration
  • Performance overview
  • Modernization
GPS Policy and Context
  • Condensed navigation systems 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

Monday Afternoon

Legacy 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
  • Disolution of precision
  • Types of positioning solutions
GPS Receiver Basics
  • Types of receivers
  • Functional overview
  • Antennas

Tuesday Morning

GPS Principles and Technologies

Clocks and Timing
  • Importance for GPS
  • Timescales
  • Clock types
  • Stability measures
  • Relativistic effects
Geodesy and Satellite Orbits
  • Coordinate frames and geodesy
  • Satellite orbits
  • 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

Tuesday Afternoon

Error Sources and Models
  • Sources of error and correction modules
  • GPS signals 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
  • RINEX data format

Wednesday Morning

Differential GPS Overview
  • Local-area, regional-area, wide-area architectures
  • Code vs. carrier-phase based systems
  • Pseudolites
  • Performance overview
Differential Error Sources
  • Satellite ephemeris errors
  • Satellite clock errors
  • Selective availability
  • Ionospheric, tropospheric delay
  • Multipath
  • Receiver internal noise, biases
Observable Modeling
  • Code pseudorange and carrier phase outputs
  • Code-minus-carrier observables
  • Carrier-smoothed code operation
  • Double difference operation
  • System error budgets

Wednesday Afternoon

Differential GPS Design Considerations
  • Range vs. navigation domain corrections
  • Data links
  • Pseudolites
  • Reducing major error components
  • Ambiguity resolution
DGPS Case Studies I
  • RTCM SC104 message format 
  • USCG maritime DGPS and National DGPS (NDGPS)
  • Commercial satellite-based systems<
DGPS Case Studies II
  • Wide Area Augmentation System (WAAS)
  • Local Area Augmentation System (LAAS)
  • RINEX format
  • CORS&IGS network for precise positioning (survey)
  • Precise time transfer

Thursday Morning

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

Thursday Afternoon

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
  • Enhancements - carrier smoothing, narrow correlator, codeless/semi-codeless tracking, vector tracking, external aiding

Friday Morning

Case Study: Tracing a GPS Signal Through a Receiver
  • Received signal
  • Digitized signal
  • Correlator outputs
  • Code phase estimate
  • Carrier phase estimate
  • Data demodulation 
GPS Navigation Algorithms: Point Solutions
  • Pseudorange measurement models
  • Point solution method 
Basics of Kalman Filtering
  • Introduction to Kalman filtering
  • Filter structure
  • Simulation results

Friday Afternoon

Kalman Filtering for GPS Navigation
  • Clock models and dynamic models
  • Integration with INS
  • Measurement and dynamic mismodeling
Practical Aspects I
  • Types of GPS and DGPS receivers
  • Understanding specification sheets
  • Data links
  • Antennas
Practical Aspects II
  • Receiver and interface standards
  • Connectors
  • Accessories
  • Test, evaluation, and signal performance

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