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The Automatic Precise Point Positioning Service of the Global Differential GPS System
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Under The Hood

  Under the hood is JPL's GIPSY-OASIS software, Version 5. A precise point positioning (PPP) technique [Zumberge et al., 1997] is implemented within GIPSY to process GPS phase and pseudorange measurement in RINEX format. The GPS orbit and clock states are held fixed to the best solutions available from JPL. The following parameters are estimated:
  • Position coordinates (a single set in Static Mode, or a time series in Kinematic Mode)
  • Receiver clock states as white noise with updates every measurement epoch
  • Zenith wet delay as a random walk with variance of 3 mm2 per hour
  • Wet delay gradient as a random walk with variance of 0.3 mm2 per hour
  • Phase ambiguities as real numbers
 
  The reference GPS orbit and clock states are of three types:
  • JPL's Final products (also known as FlinnR), available roughly 10 days after data is collected, and possessing User Range Error (URE) of roughly 3 cm RMS. Clock solutions are provided every 5 minutes. These products are publicly available on a daily basis from ftp://sideshow.jpl.nasa.gov/pub/JPL_GPS_Products/Final.
  • JPL's Rapid products (also known as QuickLookR), available roughly 1 day after data is collected, and possessing URE of roughly 5 cm RMS. Clock solutions are provided every 5 minutes. These products are publicly available ona daily basis from ftp://sideshow.jpl.nasa.gov/pub/JPL_GPS_Products/Rapid.
  • JPL's Real Time products, available 1 minute after data is collected, and possessing URE of roughly 8 cm RMS. Clock solutions are provided every minute. These products are commercially available from http://www.gdgps.net.
 
  All of the reference orbit and clock products are defined in ITRF14. The positioning solutions, therefore, are also in ITRF14.

By default the most accurate orbit and clock products are used if available. Since uploaded RINEX files are allowed to cross day boundary, it is possible that several types of orbit/clock products are used in the PPP process. For example, several days of Final products followed by days of Rapid products.

The JPL Final and Rapid orbit and clock products are produced on a daily basis, and span 30 hours centered on noon of the relevant day. When combining two consecutive daily products, cosine smoothing is carried out on the 6 hour overlap period to ensure continuity. In addition, the clock product of the second day is aligned with the reference clock of the first day. This process continues with any additional days.

APPS users may specify the elevation angle cutoff, and for kinematic positioning the output data rate. By default, the 7.5 elevation angle cutoff is applied, and for kinematic positioning the positions are output at the same rate as the measurement data. The satellite clock solutions are interpolated if necessary.

APPS automatically applies satellite and receiver antenna phase center variation (APV) maps following IGS standards. The choice of receiver APV maps is determined by the antenna type as it appears in the uploaded RINEX file. If the antenna type is not specified or is not recognized, APPS will not apply receiver APV maps.

For single frequency data APPS applies ionospheric calibrations based on JPL's Global Ionospheric Map (GIM) data, and on Real Time Ionosphere (RTI) data, depending on availability. The GIM ionospheric data is typically available with a latency of a day, and the RTI data is typically available with a latency of 5 minutes.

Certain data pre-processing and adjustments are carried out before the PPP is attempted, based on the receiver type as identified in the RINEX file header. These may include:
  • Time tags adjustments
  • C/A - P bias calibration
 
  If the receiver type is not recognized, only time tags adjustement is carried out by default.

The following signal and ground models are applied by GIPSY:
  • GPS yaw attitude [Bar-Sever, 1997]
  • Phase windup [Wu et el., 1993]
  • GMF troposphere mapping function
  • Apriori hydrostatic delay = 1.013 * 2.27 * exp(-.000116 * h) meters, where h is the station height abov e the ellipsoid in meters
  • Apriori for wet delay is 0.1 m
  • Tropospheric gradients [Bar-Sever et al., 1997]
  • Relativity
  • Pole, and solid tide [IERS Tech Note #23]
  • Ocean tides [Desai]
  • Second order ionospheric delay [Kedar et al. 2003]
 
  APPS produces many output files, which can be classified into two types: GIPSY output, and generic output. The GIPSY output contains file types and products familiar to GIPSY users, and includes:
  • STACOV file, containing the position solutions and attendant covariance
  • TDP file, containing time series for all estimated parameters with their formal errors
 
  The generic output includes:
  • Tabulated time series for all estimated parameters
  • A summary of PPP results
  • A README file containing detailed description of the format and content of all output files
 
  APPS processing is carried out on dedicated computers at the JPL Global Differential GPS (GDGPS) System's Operations Centers. GDGPS has Operations Centers in Los Angeles, Pasadena, and Denver. These centers are operated 24/7.
 
 
References:

Bar-Sever, Y.E., "A New Model for GPS Yaw Attitude", Journal of Geodesy, 70, pp 714-723, 1996.

Bar-Sever, Y.E., P.M. Kroger, and J.A. Borjesson, "Estimating Horizontal Gradients of Tropospheric Path Delay with a single GPS Receiver", J. Geophys. Res., 103, pp 5019-5035, 1998.

Wu, J.T., S.C. Wu, G.A. Hajj, W.I. Bertiger, and S.M. Lichten "Effects of Antenna Orientation on GPS Carrier Phase" Manuscripta Geodaetica, Vol. 18, No. 2, pp. 91-98, 1993.

Kedar S., G.A. Hajj, B.D. Wilson, and M.B. Heflin, "The effect of the second order GPS ionospheric correction on receiver positions", Geophysical Research Letters, Vol. 30, NO. 16, 1829, 2003.

Zumberge, J. F., M. B. Heflin, D. C. Jefferson, M. M. Watkins, F.H. Webb, "Precise point positioning for the efficient and robust analysis of GPS data from large networks", J. Geophys. Res., v 102, No. B3, pp 5005-5017, 1997.
 
 
FAQ

What is the difference between APPS and AG?
  • AG can only perform Static positioning with dual frequency measurements
  • AG can only accept email requests, one file at a time
  • AG uses JPL's legacy Final product (FlinnP), which is less accurate than the FlinnR product used by APP S
  • AG can only process a single day at a time
 
  Can I still continue to use AG?
  • APPS has fully replaced AG since September 2008.
 
  What types of input measurement files does APPS recognize?
    APPS recognizes RINEX measurement files up to Version 2.11. The files may be compressed (Hatanaka or standard) or uncompressed. The file name is ignored. The files may span more than one day. APPS will attempt to extract receiver type for the RINEX file header. Any GLONASS data will be removed.
 
  What receiver types are recognized by APPS?
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