GPS Receiver Architectures and Measurements
MICHAEL S. BRAASCH,
MEMBER, IEEE, AND
A. J. VAN DIERENDONCK,
SENIOR MEMBER, IEEE
Although originally developed for the military, the Global Po-sitioning System (GPS) has proven invaluable for a multitude of civilian applications. Each application demands speciﬁc perfor-mance from the GPS receiver, and the associated requirementsoften vary widely. This paper describes the architectures and functions of civilian GPS receivers and then focuses on perfor-manceconsiderations.Thefundamental receivermeasurements aredescribed and the quality of these measurements are related to theaforementioned receiver architectures.
Code division multiaccess, distance measurement,global positioning system, microwave receivers, phase locked loops, radio navigation, satellite navigation systems.
Beyond its original purpose as a military “force en-hancer,” the Global Positioning System (GPS) has provento be a great asset in a variety of civilian applications. Air-craft navigation systems use GPS for more direct routing.Surveyors achieve millimeter-level accuracy, and the sametechniques are exploited by geophysicists to monitor crustaldeformation. Automotive applications include ﬂeet man-agement, in-car navigation systems, and automatic positionreporting during emergency cellular phone calls. Marinersuse GPS for low-visibility harbor operations as well as fornavigation in open waters. Hand-held receivers are provinguseful to hikers, campers, and other recreational users.The demands on GPS receiver performance are as variedas the applications. For example, the hiker is not interestedin millimeter-level positioning, but a compact, low-weight,long battery-life unit is highly desirable. Surveying unitsmay take advantage of the increased accuracy which canbe achieved by exploiting the low-level of dynamics of thereceiver.Although the speciﬁc requirements vary signiﬁcantly, themost fundamental aspects remain unchanged. Every GPSapplication ultimately involves the determination of plat-form position, velocity, and/or time. The exact algorithms
Manuscript received June 17, 1997; revised September 1, 1998.M. S. Braasch is with the Avionics Engineering Center, School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Ohio University, Athens,OH 45701-2979 (e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org).A. J. Van Dierendonck is with A. J. Systems, Los Altos, CA 94024-4925 USA (e-mail: AJVD@aol.com).Publisher Item Identiﬁer S 0018-9219(99)00425-9.
and implementations differ depending upon the applicationbut in each case the most basic measurements are the same:user-to-satellite line-of-sight (LOS) range and range-rate.Information describing the satellite position and velocity isalso required. This is transmitted to the user in the form of binary data over the ranging signal via a spread-spectrumcommunication technique , .This paper has been structured to provide the readerwith the concepts necessary to understand the GPS receiverarchitecture. We discuss how the measurements are formedand how the various error sources affect the quality of thedata. The paper is organized as follows. Section II providesan overview of GPS signal processing. The fundamentalsof spread spectrum are reviewed brieﬂy followed by aconceptual description of the range and range-rate measure-ment process. Section III provides a functional descriptionof the GPS receiver. This includes consideration of thefront-end, downconversion, digitization, and baseband pro-cessing. The fundamental measurements are described andcommon variants of the generic receiver architecture areoutlined. In Section IV, receiver performance is discussed.The impact of various architectures on measurement ac-curacy is highlighted along with the issues of data rates,latencies, and interference tolerance. Section V summarizesthe paper and draws some general conclusions.II. GPS S
Although providing position, velocity, and time is theultimate goal of GPS, when considered as a sensor, thereceiver’s primary tasks are measurement of range andrange-rate and demodulation of the navigation data. Thenavigation data are the 50-bits/s data stream modulatedonto the GPS signal. The navigation data contain thesatellite clock and orbital parameters which are used inthe computation of user position. The GPS signal formatis known as direct sequence spread spectrum , . Moredetails on spread spectrum will be given in Section II-A.The focus of this paper is on the process of exploiting theGPS spread-spectrum signal in order to determine rangeand range-rate. First, a brief review of spread spectrumfundamentals is given. This is followed by a conceptual
48 PROCEEDINGS OF THE IEEE, VOL. 87, NO. 1, JANUARY 1999
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