Mapping the GPS multipath environment using the signal-to-noise ratio (SNR)



[1] GPS multipath, where a signal arrives by more than one path, is a source of positioning error which cannot be easily neutralized. Better understanding of the multipath environment, i.e., the direction of and distance to reflecting objects, is important for multipath mitigation during the site construction phase as well as discerning the impact of multipath on positioning estimates for existing sites. This paper presents a tool called power spectral mapping that visually represents the multipath environment of a GPS site. This technique uses the spectral content (frequency and magnitude) of signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) time series to determine which satellites, and therefore which portions of the antenna environment, contribute significant multipath error and at what frequencies. Wavelet analysis is used to extract the time-varying frequency and magnitude content of various multipath constituents, and these data are projected onto a map representing the GPS antenna surroundings. Power spectral map examples from stations with very different multipath environments are presented. The maps are interpreted in terms of potential sources of multipath reflections, and how these multipath signals contribute to positioning error at each station is also assessed.