Date of Award

Fall 12-1-2020

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Ocean Science and Engineering

Committee Chair

Dr. Anand Hiroji

Committee Chair School

Ocean Science and Engineering

Committee Member 2

Dr. David Wells

Committee Member 2 School

Ocean Science and Engineering

Committee Member 3

Dr. Sunil Bisnath

Committee Member 4

Dr. Stephan Howden

Committee Member 4 School

Ocean Science and Engineering

Committee Member 5

Dr. Davin Wallace

Committee Member 5 School

Ocean Science and Engineering


This dissertation determines for the first time the vertical accuracy achievable with low-cost mass-market multi-frequency, multi-GNSS (LM3GNSS) receivers, and antennas in the context of Ellipsoid Reference Survey (ERS), usually employed in bathymetric operations aboard survey platforms. LM3GNSS receivers are relatively new in the market, and their emergence is driven by the automobile industry and several mass-market applications requiring location-based solutions at high accuracies. It is foreseeable that emerging hydrographic survey platforms such as autonomous surface vehicles, small unmanned aircraft, crowd-sourced bathymetric platforms, and offshore GNSS buoy will find LM3GNSS receivers attractive since they are power- and cost-effective (often less than $1,000 per unit). Previous studies have shown that some mass-market GNSS receivers' positioning accuracy is at the sub-meter level in some positioning strategies, but the authors rarely discussed the vertical accuracy. In rare cases where attention is given to the vertical component, the experiment design did not address the dynamic antenna scenario typical of hydrographic survey operations and the positioning performance that meets the hydrographic survey community's aspirations.

The LM3GNSS receivers and low-cost antennas considered in this dissertation achieved vertical accuracies within 0.15 m at a 95% confidence level in simulated precise point positioning (PPP) and post-processed kinematic positioning strategies. This dissertation characterizes the signal strength, multipath, carrier-phase residuals, and code residuals in the measurement quality assessment of four LM3GNSS receivers and four low-cost antennas. The dissertation investigates the performances of the LM3GNSS receivers and low-cost antennas in different antenna-receiver pairings, relative to a high-grade GNSS receiver and antenna in simulated-kinematic and precise point positioning (PPP) strategies. This dissertation also shows that solutions with an uncalibrated antenna improve with a cloned ANTEX file making the results comparable to those achieved with high-end GNSS antenna. This dissertation also describes a GNSS processing tool (with graphic user interface), developed from scratch by the author, that implements, among others, orbit interpolation and geodetic computations as steps towards multipath computation and analysis. The dissertation concludes as follows: (1) The LM3GNSS hardware considered in this dissertation provides effective alternative positioning and navigation performance for emerging survey platforms such as ASV and sUAS. (2) LM3GNSS hardware can meet vertical positioning accuracy on the order of 0.15 m at a 95% confidence level in PPP strategy on less dynamic platforms. (3) LM3GNSS receivers can provide PPK solutions at medium (30 – 40 km) baselines with a vertical positioning accuracy better than 0.15m at a 95% confidence level. (4) LM3GNSS receivers in PPP strategy should meet IHO S-44 order-1 and order-2 in shallow waters. (5) Zephyr3 antenna, being a high-end GNSS antenna, may not always offer the best performance with the LM3GNSS receiver, especially in a dynamic environment. (6) Given the current tracking capabilities, the measurement quality, and positioning performances of LM3GNSS receivers relative to the geodetic grade receiver, it is foreseeable that the distinction between high-end GNSS and LM3GNSS receivers will most likely fade away as GNSS hardware technology advances. (7) Maximizing an LM3GNSS receiver in PPK strategy requires a multi-constellation-enabled reference station and high (i.e., 1 Hz) data tracking rate; otherwise, the PPK solutions will likely drift up to 20 cm.