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Elevation Measurement Capabilities of Consumer-Grade Global Positioning System (GPS) Receivers

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Elevation determination is central to many natural resource–related measurement tasks including establishing terrain profiles, determining road and stream gradients, and volume estimations of soil or water. We examined the relative vertical accuracy of six consumer-grade global positioning system (GPS) receivers that were rigorously tested at three different measurement courses in western Oregon. Each measurement course was in a distinct setting representing either open sky, young forest, or closed canopy conditions. Overall, we found that average vertical errors were 7 m or less for five of the consumer GPS receivers that we tested and that measurement reliability varied among the units. This level of accuracy may suffice for developing estimates of feature profiles and initial draft design applications depending on project requirements.
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Keywords: GPS; mapping; measurements

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2007-03-01

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