GPS Base Station
The Institute for the Application of Geospatial Technology
(IAGT) has completed the installation of a Geodetic GPS base
station on its property dedicated to an international scientific
study of ways to improve weather forecasting. IAGT has joined
the ranks of other top schools involved in this study, such
as Universities of Connecticut, Arizona, Colorado, MIT and
Purdue. The Navstar Consortium (UNAVCO)—funded by the
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and
the National Science Foundation (NSF) is installing the equipment
and coordinating the study.
GPS technology can be used in atmospheric study based on
the functionality of GPS. As many of our readers know, GPS
is based on time and the “triangulation” of up
to 24 satellites to a location on the earth’s surface.
The accuracy of measuring the location of a position on the
ground is determined by the number of satellites that can “see” it
and the time it takes for a GPS signal to reach it. Delays
in the time it takes to receive a GPS signal will falsely
increase the estimated distance between the ground location
and the GPS satellite, thus decreasing the accuracy of the
GPS location information. By having accurate pressure and
temperature readings at the same location as a GPS base station,
SoumiNet researches can determine amounts of water and other
factors in the atmosphere that are slowing down GPS signals.
Water vapor in the atmosphere is highly variable. It is an
essential component in determining what the weather will
be like on any given day. Yet water vapor is poorly measured
over large areas. This study will improve knowledge of the
water vapor and promises to make major improvements in short-term
weather forecasting. A GPS research group from the National
Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) Forecast Systems
Laboratory is already analyzing the GPS data from the existing
international network. IAGT will add to the scientific understanding
of weather by participating in this project.
IAGT also hopes to supply the GPS base station data to advanced
GPS users in the community, allowing them to improve the
accuracy of the data they collect. This has the potential
to improve the speed and accuracy of things like boundary
surveys, construction site planning, and the general collection
and asset inventory. IAGT also hope to make available RTK
services using cellular technology in the future.
More information on this study can be found at: www.suominet.ucar.edu.
For more information from IAGT please contact