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An Examination of Five Identical Mapping-Grade Global Positioning System Receivers in Two Forest Settings

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We collected measurements using five identical high-quality mapping-grade GPS receivers that were configured the same and collected data simultaneously in two distinctly different settings within a forest. Our primary objective was to determine whether measurement accuracies were different among the mapping-grade GPS receivers. A secondary objective was to determine whether measurement accuracies were different depending on whether receivers established their locations by taking a single 1-second measurement or by averaging 30 or 60 measurements. In the open-sky setting, where receivers had few obstructions overhead, we found that all five receivers recorded measurements with similar positional accuracies. Errors were lower when measurements were differentially corrected (postprocessed). We found an average error of 1.6 m for unprocessed data and an average error of 0.2 m for postprocessed data. Our results indicate that in open-sky conditions, all five receivers performed similarly when measurements were postprocessed. In addition, there was no significant difference in accuracy whether 1, 30, or 60 points were averaged, regardless of whether data were postprocessed. In the young-forest test course, examination of errors between receivers revealed that one receiver had significantly different errors compared with other receivers, which was likely the result of environmental influences on satellite signal strength and availability. We also found that measurement errors for all five receivers were significantly lower when measurements were postprocessed. On average, measurement errors were 5.9 m for unprocessed data and 1.4 m for postprocessed data. In analyzing individual receiver errors, no receiver had significantly different measurement errors whether 1, 30, or 60 measurements were recorded.
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Keywords: GPS; accuracy; canopy

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2011-07-01

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