Using the virtual reference stations (VRS) concept for long-range airborne GPS kinematic positioning
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In this paper, the potential of long-range kinematic GPS positioning with a multiple reference station (MRS) network for airborne applications is discussed. A novel method of creating Virtual Reference Stations (VRS) is proposed for post-processed airborne GPS kinematic applications, which is called the modified semi-kinematic VRS method (MS-VRS). The purpose of the VRS is to generate data from real GPS observations made by the MRS network, resembling that of a non-existing (virtual) reference station situated close to the project area, so that the commonly used methods for short-range kinematic GPS data processing can be used to determine the position of the aircraft. During the initial phase, the VRS of the MS-VRS method refers to a fixed position according to the aircraft's initial approximate position, and the corrections are applied according to the aircraft's trajectory. The MS-VRS method differs from the conventional VRS method and semi-kinematic VRS method (S-VRS) in that when the aircraft's current approximate position is more than 10 km from the initial VRS position, a new VRS is created. The MS-VRS data can be generated in RINEX format, so that it can be processed using any kinematic GPS post-processing software. Using a simulated kinematic test with static data, the MS-VRS method showed a 12.1 to 47.6 percent improvement in the three coordinate components with respect to the conventional single reference station (SRS) approach. Tests and analysis with real airborne GPS data are presented in some detail using a MRS network and flight test data in Norway. The results indicate that centimetre-level accuracy can be achieved based on the proposed MS-VRS method, which is superior to the S-VRS method, with improvements of 11.4 to 47.4 percent in terms of standard deviations of the coordinate domain.
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