Real-Time PPP-RTK Performance Analysis Using Ionospheric Corrections from Multi-Scale Network Configurations

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The long convergence time required to achieve high-precision position solutions with integer ambiguity resolution-enabled precise point positioning (PPP-RTK) is driven by the presence of ionospheric delays. When precise real-time ionospheric information is available and properly applied, it can strengthen the underlying model and substantially reduce the time required to achieve centimeter-level accuracy. In this study, we present and analyze the real-time PPP-RTK user performance using ionospheric corrections from multi-scale regional networks during a day with medium ionospheric disturbance. It is the goal of this contribution to measure the impact the network dimension has on the ambiguity-resolved user position through the predicted ionospheric corrections. The user-specific undifferenced ionospheric corrections are computed at the network side, along with the satellite phase biases needed for single-receiver ambiguity resolution, using the best linear unbiased predictor. Such corrections necessitate the parameterization of an estimable user receiver code bias, on which emphasis is given in this study. To this end, we process GPS dual-frequency data from four four-station evenly distributed CORS networks in the United States with varying station spacings in order to evaluate if and to what extent the ionospheric corrections from multi-scale networks can improve the user convergence times. Based on a large number of samples, our experimental results showed that sub-10 cm horizontal accuracy can be achieved almost instantaneously in the ionosphere-weighted partially-ambiguity-fixed kinematic PPP-RTK solutions based on corrections from a network with 68 km spacing. Most of the solutions (90%) were shown to require less than 6.0 min, compared to the ionosphere-float PPP solutions that needed 68.5 min. In case of sparser networks with 115, 174 and 237 km spacing, 50% of the horizontal positioning errors are shown to become less than one decimeter after 1.5, 4.0 and 7.0 min, respectively, while 90% of them require 10.5, 16.5 and 20.0 min. We also numerically demonstrated that the user’s convergence times bear a linear relationship with the network density and get shorter as the density increases, for both full and partial ambiguity resolution.
Original languageEnglish
Article number3012
Number of pages20
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Convergence time
  • GNSS
  • Integer ambiguity resolution (IAR)
  • Ionospheric corrections
  • Network density
  • PPP-RTK network and user


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