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Appraisal of Relativistic Effects on GNSS Receiver Positioning

Authors: I. Yakubu, Y. Y. Ziggah, E. A. Gyamera


The Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) started with the launch of the United State Department of Defense Global Positioning System (GPS). GNSS systems has grown over the years to include: GLONASS (Russia); Galileo (European Union); BeiDou (China). Any GNSS architecture consists of three major segments: Space, Control and User Segments. Errors such as; multipath, ionospheric and tropospheric effects, satellite clocks, receiver noise and orbit errors (relativity effect) have significant effects on GNSS positioning. To obtain centimeter level accuracy, the impacts of the relative motion of the satellites and earth need to be taken into account. This paper discusses the relevance of the theory of relativity as a source of error for GNSS receivers for position fix based on available relevant literature. Review of relevant literature reveals that due to relativity; Time dilation, Gravitational frequency shift and Sagnac effect cause significant influence on the use of GNSS receivers for positioning by an error range of ± 2.5 m based on pseudo-range computation.

Keywords: GNSS, relativistic effects, pseudo-range, accuracy.

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