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CEG2719 : GNSS for Geoscientists and Engineers

  • Offered for Year: 2022/23
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Achraf Koulali Idrissi
  • Owning School: Engineering
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 2 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 5.0


The aim of the module is for students to understand the principles underlying the use of Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSSs) 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 GNSSs, of which the US Global Positioning System (NAVSTAR GPS) is the prime example. The module covers the system components and the way they interact, the causes of measurement errors 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 are discussed in 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 geodetic 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 GNSSs
- How code GNSS works
- Errors affecting GNSS positioning and error mitigation
- Differential GNSS
- Overview of precise (phase) GNSS
- The future of GNSSs
- Coordinate systems used with GNSS
- Overview of map projections
- Overview of geodetic datums and coordinate transformations

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion12:002:00Practical write-up
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion170:308:30Revision for exam
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture171:0017:00PiP delivery
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion12:002:00PiP invigilated summative exam
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion112:0012:00Project report writing
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesPractical23:006:00Computer-based (PIP)
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching11:001:00Seminar (PIP)
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesFieldwork12:002:00PiP GNSS data collection and analysis
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study149:3049:30General reading and revision
Jointly Taught With
Code Title
CEG1705An Introduction to GNSS and its Applications
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

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

Should the public health situation require, all present-in-person sessions except the fieldwork and the subsequent seminar will be delivered as synchronous online sessions. Alternative delivery methods are impracticable for the fieldwork and the seminar, which will be cancelled if present-in-person delivery is not permitted. If necessary, the end-of-semester summative examination will be converted to a 24-hour take home examination delivered via the Canvas learning management system.

Assessment Methods

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

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written Examination1202A60PiP invigilated unseen written exam
Exam Pairings
Module Code Module Title Semester Comment
CEG1705An Introduction to GNSS and its Applications2N/A
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Practical/lab report2M15Practical/fieldwork satisfactory completion
Report2M25Project report of approximately 6 pages on one GNSS application of choice
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The majority of factual and conceptual material relating to the learning outcomes is assessed within the unseen exam. Analytical and computational aspects are assessed as part of the practical reports (coursework). Knowledge outcomes 3 and 4, and the skill outcomes, are particularly addressed in the assessed project report (coursework).

Practical 1 (coordinate types): 4% for satisfactory completion;
Practical 2 (GNSS in the field): 3% for satisfactory completion of fieldwork and seminar;
Practical 3 (coordinate transformations): 8% for satisfactory completion and correct calculations;
Project (applications of GNSS): 25% for approximately 6 pages.

Reading Lists