Kinematic GPS solutions for aircraft trajectories: Identifying and minimizing systematic height errors associated with atmospheric propagation delays



[1] When kinematic GPS processing software is used to estimate the trajectory of an aircraft, unless the delays imposed on the GPS signals by the atmosphere are either estimated or calibrated via external observations, then vertical height errors of decimeters can occur. This problem is clearly manifested when the aircraft is positioned against multiple base stations in areas of pronounced topography because the aircraft height solutions obtained using different base stations will tend to be mutually offset, or biased, in proportion to the elevation differences between the base stations. When performing kinematic surveys in areas with significant topography it should be standard procedure to use multiple base stations, and to separate them vertically to the maximum extent possible, since it will then be much easier to detect mis-modeling of the atmosphere.