GNSS: a quick dive into the components

The components you have to deal with

A complete set consists of:

RTK GPS antenna (GNSS receiver)

Data collector (Handheld or Tablet)

Software (for point collection and mapping)

Correction data (RTK, L-Band or Local Base)

Accessories (land survey poles, brackets etc.)

GPS antenna

The GPS antenna is responsible for positioning. Technically speaking, the devices are called RTK GNSS receivers, where RTK stands for “Real Time Kinematics” and GNSS for “Global Navigation Satellite Systems”. For simplicity’s sake we will now call them GNSS antennas.

Like I said the GNSS antenna is responsible for positioning. It does this by using a system of satellite constellations such as GPS Galileo Glonass and BeiDou. These satellite systems provide signals from space that contain positioning and timing data for your receiver. Your GNSS receiver uses this data to calculate its position. You can then send this position data via Bluetooth, cable or internet to your data collector, where it can be used in your surveying software.

Performance and accuracy

Now that we understand what the GNSS antenna does, it is good to understand the differences in performance and where these differences come from. To keep it simple, we will concentrate on the main components. It is not necessary to fully understand the operation, as long as you understand the basics.

The components are:

  1. Satellite constellations
  2. Frequencies
  3. Channels
  4. Correction data

If you want to dive further in to the specifics, check out the following articles: