Increasing the Accuracy of Your GPS System

Increasing the Accuracy of Your GPS System

A few of the challenges you will come into contact with when using your GPS device are pretty intuitive, but others are less so. It is a good idea to take a moment to ramp up on any difficulties that may crop up.

Atmospheric Conditions

Bad weather can affect the transmission of the GPS satellite signals – even if the weather is so high up in the atmosphere that you can’t see it with the naked eye. This can affect the accuracy of your GPS unit in turn.

When your GPS satellite signal passes through the layers of the atmosphere up through the stratosphere and to the transmitting satellites, it can move across conditions that either speed it up or slow it down, depending on wind speeds, etc. This then affects the time that your device shows, as well as the position and coordinate calculations that are displayed. Somewhat surprisingly, the number one source of imprecise GPS satellite signal information is corruption of data due to atmospheric conditions.

Clock Errors

Similarly, you might be able to guess that the GPS device’s accuracy is also dependent on its internal clock. If the time in the GPS unit is off even by milliseconds, it can greatly impact the precision of the positioning data that you are receiving. If your GPS’s internal clock is off, it’s a good idea to have it promptly re-calibrated.

Errors in Position Updating

Some of the potential discrepancies involving internal clocks can also be attributed to when the satellite updates its position, which takes place every twelve minutes. If the signal from the Satellite GPS device reaches the satellite GPS device is near the time at which it updates, the satellite does not have an accurate picture of its position to transmit, so it sends the most accurate information from its most recent position instead.

However, though this problem is unavoidable with the current technology available to civilian consumers, it rarely translates into a serious problem on the ground with general GPS use. This is simply a fact to be aware of when enjoying your GPS.

Tags: , , ,

2 Responses to “Increasing the Accuracy of Your GPS System”

  1. Art
    May 15, 2008 at 9:09 am #

    You mention a signal from the gps to the satellite. The gps never sends a signal. It has no transmitter. It is a receiver only.

  2. May 16, 2008 at 2:11 am #


    I must have missed that… edit has now been made!

Leave a Reply