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CEG1705 : An Introduction to GNSS and its Applications

  • Offered for Year: 2020/21
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Ciprian Spatar
  • Owning School: Engineering
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 2 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 5.0


For students to understand the principles underlying the use of GPS at metre and sub-metre accuracy for applications in surveying, GIS, transport, agriculture, asset management, and scientific studies.

This module introduces students to the basics of positioning using Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS), of which the US Global Positioning System (NAVSTAR GPS) is the prime example. We will cover the system components and the way they interact, the causes of measurement error and how they may be mitigated (including differential GNSS), and the relationships between the different coordinate types that may be used to describe position. The applications of metre-accuracy GNSS positioning will be discussed during lectures and within a self-directed project. More advanced topics include a brief introduction to precise (millimetre-accuracy) positioning using the carrier phase and the relationships between different historical coordinate datums used in the UK and worldwide (including height systems involving the geoid). Practical exercises include spreadsheet-based coordinate calculations, and the opportunity to test different types of GNSS receivers in the field.

Outline Of Syllabus

Overview of GPS –how code GPS works – errors affecting GPS, and their mitigation – differential GPS - overview of precise (phase) GPS – the future of GPS and similar systems.

Coordinate systems used with GPS – overview of map projections – datums and coordinate transformations.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion18:008:00Project Report
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion11:001:00Practical write-up
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion12:002:00Exam
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture171:0017:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion170:308:30Revision for exam
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesPractical23:006:00PC based
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching11:001:00Seminars
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesFieldwork11:301:30Collection of actual GPS data, followed by analysis and interpretation of errors.
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study155:0055:00Includes background reading and reading lecture notes for a full understanding of material.
Jointly Taught With
Code Title
CEG2719GNSS for Geoscientists and Engineers
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Factual and conceptual material relating to all learning outcomes is covered in formal lectures; more interpretative and application-based material is encountered in the individual project. Knowledge outcomes 1 and 4, and the skills outcomes, are further covered in computer-based practicals on computational aspects of coordinate systems and a practical field exercise involving the collection of actual GPS data, followed by analysis and interpretation of errors.

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written Examination1202A70Unseen written exam
Exam Pairings
Module Code Module Title Semester Comment
CEG2719GNSS for Geoscientists and Engineers2N/A
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Practical/lab report2M15Practical/fieldwork satisfactory completion of report - 100 words.
Report2M15Project report of approx 4 pages.
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

Practicals/fieldword 15% for satisfactory completion and final report x 100 words.

Project (applications of GNSS): 15%

The vast majority of factual and conceptual material, relating to all learning outcomes, is assessed within the unseen written exam.

Analytical and computational aspects are assessed as part of the practical reports (coursework). Knowledge outcomes 3 and 4, and the skills outcomes, are particularly addressed in the assessed project report (coursework).

Reading Lists