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Course 373 Details

Course 373: GPS-Based Attitude Determination and Applications: Using Carrier Phase Measurements to Achieve High Accuracy Positioning on Dynamic Platforms (1.2 CEUs) On-Site Only
Instructors: Dr. Penina Axelrad, University of Colorado


This 2-day course addresses the integration of inertial sensors and systems, including and understanding of GPS carrier phase observations and the  use of carrier phase for GPS based attitude determination and error sources. For more information about this course, see details below.


  • To provide an understanding of GPS carrier phase observations and the use of carrier phase for GPS based attitude determination.
  • To describe the error sources in GPS-based attitude determination.
  • To provide solution algorithms for GPS and integrated GPS/gyro attitude solutions.
  • To discuss ambiguity resolution.
  • To present case studies for land, marine airborne and space applications.


Some familiarity with engineering terms is helpful but not essential.  Reading GPS, GLONASS, Galileo and other Global Navigation Satellite Systems, by NovAtel, Inc. is strongly recommended.

Who Should Attend?

  • Engineers and technical professionals seeking conceptual and detailed explanations of GPS technology, operation, capabilities, applications, and development trends
  • Professionals in navigation, positioning, and related fields who are concerned with the capabilities, operation and principles of GPS, DGPS, and related GNSS systems.
  • System analysts and specialists concerned with position data and its use.
  • Managers concerned with GPS, GNSS activities, or the positioning field.

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; power access will be provided. 
  • A black and white hard copy of the course notes will also be provided.
  • On-site contract fee entitles your organization to a credit for books from the NavtechGPS bookstore to be determined with contract.

Course Outline          PDF Course Outline          To Register

Day 1, Morning

GPS-Based Attitude Determination
● Basic principles of operation 
● Historical perspective 
● Relationship between kinematic survey and attitude determination
GPS Equipment Configurations
● Reference frames 
● Attitude representations 
● Attitude determination problem statement
GPS Equipment for Attitude Determination
● Requirements and configuration 
● Specific attitude receiver features 
● Non-dedicated GPS sensor configurations

Day 1, Afternoon

Carrier Phase Measurements and Models
● What are they? 
● How they are formed in the receiver 
● Measurement models 
● Single and double differences on very short baselines
Error Sources
● Multipath 
● Oscillator stability 
● Receiver tracking errors
Ambiguity Resolution and Baseline Calibrations
● Problem definition for attitude determination 
● Use of antenna baseline constraints 
● Search techniques 
● Motion-based techniques

Day 2, Morning

GPS Attitude Solution
● Two step method 
● Deterministic and least squares solutions 
● Linearized direct attitude solution
Attitude Solution Accuracy
● Baseline errors 
● Effect of satellite and baseline geometry on attitude accuracy 
● Alignment calibration
Attitude Filters & GPS/Gyro Integration
● Kalman filter solution 
● GPS and gyro error models 
● Expected performance

Day 2, Afternoon

Space Applications: Case Study I
● Receiver hardware 
● Three-axis stabilized satellites 
● Spinning satellites
● Coarse attitude determination
● Integrated GPS/gyro solutions
Marine Applications: Case Study II
● Heading and alignment 
● Multi-receiver configurations
● GNSS based attitude determination
Aircraft Applications: Case Study III
● Dynamics, wing flexure, vehicle modes 
● Application to landing systems

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