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The University of Southampton

ELEC6249 GPS and its Applications

Module Overview

This module will be first offered in the 2020/21 academic year. The intention of this module is to provide the students with a sound grasp and understanding of the fundamentals of GPS systems including the three main segments of a complete system: space, ground and user. Other topics covered will be the navigation equations, GPS performance and error effects, and GPS navigation applications such as land, sea and air vehicle navigation and tracking, aircraft automatic approach and landing using GPS, precision landing of aircraft using integrity beacons, spacecraft attitude control using GPS carrier phase, precise time and time interval measurement, surveying with the global positioning system, geodesy and orbit determination.

Aims and Objectives

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

  • GPS systems and techniques in use at present so that students can gain a clear understanding of the principles involved, the methods of implementation and how the systems relate to the operation of GPS systems. Future requirements will be discussed to indicate the development required of current and future GPS systems.
  • How component parts, subsystems and systems are integrated into complete systems and the communications and interrelationships between the various system elements. Additionally, critical constraints on these systems, how the aerospace systems operates in relation to them and the requirement of future generation systems will also be addressed.
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Understand the key factors determining the design of GPS systems used in aerospace applications.
  • Apply the GPS mathematical models and set up and solve problems involving GPS observables.
  • Have an appreciation of the issues concerned with GPS performance and error effects.
  • Understand and identify the key components and signals of GPS systems and how they interact with one another.
  • Describe different methods of detecting and dealing with the failure of components and (sub) systems.
  • Have an appreciation of the properties of a range of different feasible GPS architectures.
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Study and learn independently.
  • Solve problems.


Fundamentals (6 lectures) Coordinate and time systems Satellite orbital motions GPS observables Estimation procedures Propagation medium Mathematical model of GPS observables System (6 lectures) Space segment Ground segment User segment Navigation Equations(6 lectures) The mathematical problem Geometric interpretation Solution methodologies GPS performance and error effects (10 lectures) GPS error analysis Ionospheric effects on GPS Tropospheric effects on GPS Multipath effects Foliage attenuation for land mobile users Ephemeris and clock navigation message accuracy Selective availability Introduction to relativistic effects on the global positioning system Interference effects and mitigation techniques differential GPS GPS navigation applications (6 lectures) Land vehicle navigation and tracking Marine applications Applications of the GPS to air traffic control GPS applications in general aviation Aircraft automatic approach and landing using GPS Precision landing of aircraft using integrity beacons Spacecraft attitude control using GPS carrier phase GPS for precise time and time interval measurement Surveying with the global positioning system Geodesy Orbit determination Revision lectures (2 lectures)

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Teaching methods include: 36 lectures, including slide and video presentations, and example classes Industry speakers (?) Learning activities include: Directed reading Individual work to understand and master the course content, with the objective of successfully solving problems

Preparation for scheduled sessions18
Follow-up work18
Completion of assessment task2
Wider reading or practice66
Total study time150


Assessment Strategy

In-class quiz will be provided to students as a formative feedback.




MethodPercentage contribution
Examination  (2 hours) 100%


MethodPercentage contribution
Examination 100%


MethodPercentage contribution
Examination  (2 hours) 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

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