Assessment of Centre National d'Études Spatiales Real-Time Ionosphere Maps in Instantaneous Precise Real-Time Kinematic Positioning over Medium and Long Baselines

Sensors (Basel). 2020 Apr 17;20(8):2293. doi: 10.3390/s20082293.


Precise real-time kinematic (RTK) Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) positioning requires fixing integer ambiguities after a short initialization time. Originally, it was assumed that it was only possible at a relatively short distance from a reference station (<10 km), because otherwise the atmospheric effects prevent effective ambiguity fixing. Nowadays, through the use of VRS, MAC, or FKP corrections, the distances to the closest reference station have been increased to around 35 km. However, the baselines resolved in real time are not as far as in the case of static positioning. Further extension of the baseline requires the use of an ionosphere-weighted model with ionospheric delay corrections available in real time. This solution is now possible thanks to the Radio Technical Commission for Maritime (RTCM) stream of SSR corrections from, for example, Centre National d'Études Spatiales (CNES), the first analysis center to provide it in the context of the International GNSS Service. Then, ionospheric delays are treated as pseudo-observations that have a priori values from the CLK RTCM stream. Additionally, satellite orbit and clock errors are properly considered using space-state representation (SSR) real-time radial, along-track, and cross-track corrections. The following paper presents the initial results of such RTK positioning. Measurements were performed in various field conditions reflecting realistic scenarios that could have been experienced by actual RTK users. We have shown that the assumed methodology was suitable for single-epoch RTK positioning with up to 82 km baseline in solar minimum (30 March 2019) mid and high latitude (Olsztyn, Poland) conditions. We also confirmed that it is possible to obtain a rover position at the level of a few centimeters of precision. Finally, the possibility of using other newer experimental IGS RT Global Ionospheric Maps (GIMs), from Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) and Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (UPC) among CNES, is discussed in terms of their recent performance in the ionospheric delay domain.

Keywords: GNSS; RTK; SSR; ionosphere.