Compact Integration of a GSM-19 Magnetic Sensor with High-Precision Positioning using VRS GNSS Technology

Sensors (Basel). 2009;9(4):2944-50. doi: 10.3390/s90402944. Epub 2009 Apr 22.


Magnetic data consists of a sequence of collected points with spatial coordinates and magnetic information. The spatial location of these points needs to be as exact as possible in order to develop a precise interpretation of magnetic anomalies. GPS is a valuable tool for accomplishing this objective, especially if the RTK approach is used. In this paper the VRS (Virtual Reference Station) technique is introduced as a new approach for real-time positioning of magnetic sensors. The main advantages of the VRS approach are, firstly, that only a single GPS receiver is needed (no base station is necessary), reducing field work and equipment costs. Secondly, VRS can operate at distances separated 50-70 km from the reference stations without degrading accuracy. A compact integration of a GSM-19 magnetometer sensor with a geodetic GPS antenna is presented; this integration does not diminish the operational flexibility of the original magnetometer and can work with the VRS approach. The coupled devices were tested in marshlands around Gandia, a city located approximately 100 km South of Valencia (Spain), thought to be the site of a Roman cemetery. The results obtained show adequate geometry and high-precision positioning for the structures to be studied (a comparison with the original low precision GPS of the magnetometer is presented). Finally, the results of the magnetic survey are of great interest for archaeological purposes.

Keywords: GNSS positioning; Magnetic data; VRS approach; sensor integration.