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Course 356B Details

Course 356B: GPS Operations, DGPS, GPS Signals & Processing (1.8 CEUs) On-Site Only
Instructors: Dr. Chris Hegarty, MITRE


This 3-day course begins with a discussion of differential GPS, which continues through the rest of the week together with an in-depth look at GPS signal processing, navigation message content, code tracking, receivers and concludes with a discussion on the basics of Kalman filtering. (Note: This course is the same as the last 3 days of Course 356.)


  • To give a comprehensive introduction to GPS and DGPS technology, system concepts, design, operation, implementation and applications.
  • 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 the subject matter covered in days 1 and 2 of Course 356.

Who Should Attend?

Excellent for those engineers and technical professionals who know the basics of GPS but need more detail on DGPS, signals, receivers, antennas, navigation algorithms, Kalman filtering and practical aspects of GPS.

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

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. (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.)

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

 DGPS 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 Aftenoon

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/semicodeless 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 and example
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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