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Effects of Selective Availability on GPS Positioning Accuracy

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Deactivation of selective availability (SA) is expected to provide improvement in Global Positioning System (GPS) accuracy, and recent reports showed such improvements were realized immediately. However, most forestry GPS observations are made in subcanopy environments in which a GPS receiver's antenna can only receive GPS signals from a small region of the sky due to obstructions. Consequently, the satellite geometry will be poor, and position accuracy will suffer. Thus, there is a need to understand the impact of SA removal on positioning accuracy in high-PDOP subcanopy observations. This study found that it is difficult to approach the destination when GPS navigation is adversely influenced by SA accuracy degradation. When GPS positioning is performed after SA deactivation, a GPS observer can walk directly to the intended destination under thick tree canopies. Results also indicated that the horizontal accuracy is 73.3 m at the 95% probability level in the SA-degraded data set and 8.3 m in the SA-free data set. Further data analysis indicated that HDOPs (Langley 1999) recorded in the SA-on and the SA-off periods are not statistically significantly different. This suggests that a major portion of the difference in horizontal accuracies between SA-degraded and SA-free GPS observations can be attributed to difficulties in approaching the destination when SA is active. South. J. Appl. For. 26(3):140–145.
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Keywords: Global Positioning System; environmental management; forest; forest management; forest resources; forestry; forestry research; forestry science; natural resource management; natural resources; positioning accuracy; selective available (SA); subcanopy stakeout

Document Type: Miscellaneous

Publication date: 2002-08-01

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  • Each regional journal of applied forestry focuses on research, practice, and techniques targeted to foresters and allied professionals in specific regions of the United States and Canada. The Southern Journal of Applied Forestry covers an area from Virginia and Kentucky south to as far west as Oklahoma and east Texas.
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