Assessment and improvement of the capabilities of a window correlator to model GPS multipath phase errors
This thesis is concerned with the modelling of Global Positioning System (GPS) phase multipath. GPS is increasingly used for very high precision (centimetre level) engineering surveying applications such as setting out on construction sites and the control of major civil engineering plant (e.g. bulldozers, graders and pavement layers). In such applications the phase of the carrier signal is the basic observable and the dominant error source is muldpath (electromagnetic reflections of the carrier waves from surfaces in the surroundings of the antennas). The work contained in the thesis has been carried out in collaboration with the LCPC (Laboratoire Central des Ponts et Chaussees) in Nantes, France, which made available its test facility and Leica Geosystems, Heerbrugg, Switzerland, a GPS manufacmrer, which funded the work and which made available modified equipment for testing. The specific subject of the research is the assessment and improvement of the capabilities of a Phase Multipath Mitigation Window correlator (PMMW) to model GPS multipath phase errors. The phase window correlator is a new sampling technique dedicated to the estimation of multipath errors in phase measurements. The thesis contains background material on GPS multipath mitigation and on several existing patents related to the PMMW technique. The main contribution of the work relates to:The rigorous mathematical modelling of multipath, starting from the physics of the phenomenon, right through to the phase measurement process itself, particularly that based on the PMMW correlator. The design of a general testing methodology in a controlled environment to assess the efficacy of multipath mitigation techniques. The carrying out of full-scale experiments at the LCPC in both static and kinematic modes and the assessment of the performances and limitations of the PMMW correlator. Initial investigations into the design of a new real-time correction strategy for phase multipath phase errors based on a combination of multipath observables including the signal-to-noise ratio, the output from the PMMW correlator and an estimation of the code multipath errors from dual frequency phase data. A key feature of the new strategy is its ability to overcome the major limitation of the PMMW technique, i.e. its insensitivity to multipath caused by very close reflectors. It enables the multipath corrupted phase measurements to be improved by 10 % in average in this case, whereas the PMMW corrections on their own had almost no effect.