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How GNSS & RTK Technology Achieve High-Precision Positioning

How GNSS & RTK Technology Achieve High-Precision Positioning

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GNSS combined with RTK is a solution that can realize real-time precise positioning, and the positioning accuracy reaches centimeter level. It is widely used in application scenarios that require high-precision positioning. GPS as a kind of GNSS, people often use RTK GPS technology to refer to RTK GNSS technology. It utilizes satellites in space to transmit signals to receivers on Earth for determining precise positions. Additionally, GNSS includes regional systems like GPS, GLONASS, Galileo, BeiDou, NavIC, and QZSS, which enhance navigation accuracy globally and regionally. GNSS applications span various sectors such as agriculture, transportation, and robotics, with RTK technology offering centimeter-level accuracy for mapping and other industries.

What is GNSS?

GNSS, short for Global Navigation Satellite System, is a space-based radio positioning system that consists of one or more constellations of satellites. It refers broadly to all satellite navigation systems including global, regional, and augmented. GNSS provides Positioning, Navigation, and Timing (PNT) information signals from space for global or regional users. Satellites in space transmit information to GNSS receivers on Earth, which is then used to determine position.

Difference Between GNSS and GPS

GPS, also known as Global Positioning System, is a prominent example of a GNSS. The four primary fully operational GNSS worldwide include GPS (United States), GLONASS (Russia), Galileo (European Union), and BeiDou (China). Furthermore, regional navigation systems like NavIC (Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System or IRNSS) in India and QZSS (Quasi-Zenith Satellite System) in Japan play crucial roles in enhancing navigation accuracy and capabilities within their respective regions.

SystemGPSBeiDou / BDSGalileoGLONASS
OwnerUnited StatesChinaEuropean UnionRussia
Precision0.3–5 m3.6 m1 m2–4 m

How Does a GNSS System Work?

GNSS consists of three major segments: the space segment (satellites), the control segment, and the user segment (GNSS or GPS receivers).

Space Segment

The space segment is composed of satellites. Each satellite in the GNSS constellation broadcasts a signal that provides information about its time, orbit, and status. The specific functions include receiving and storing navigation information sent by ground monitoring stations, providing precise time standards through space-borne high-precision cesium clock and rubidium clock, sending location information to users in real time, adjusting the attitude of the satellite under the command of the ground monitoring station, and performing necessary information processing work.

Control Segment

The control segment is a ground network composed of a main control station, information upload station, and monitoring station. Its functions include tracking, observing, collecting information, calculating the orbital parameters, clock parameters of each satellite, adjusting satellites that deviate from their orbits, coordinating and managing the work of all ground monitoring systems, and providing time reference.

User Segment

The user segment refers to the GNSS receiver, which consists of the antenna and the processor. The antenna receives satellite signals, and the processor decodes the satellite information into commonly used measurements such as latitude and longitude.

What is GNSS used for?

GNSS is used in various fields that require precise, continuously available information about location and time, including agriculture, transportation, machine control, ship navigation, vehicle navigation, mobile communications, and sports. It enables businesses to optimize efficiency and provide additional benefits from environmental concerns to workforce safety.

What is RTK?

RTK (Real-time kinematic positioning) is a technology used to improve the accuracy of GNSS positioning. GNSS receivers measure the time it takes for a signal to travel from the satellite to the receiver. RTK solves this problem by providing users with centimeter accuracy for applications that require greater precision.

RTK Type

RTK correction signals are divided into two types: radio RTK signals from fixed base stations and network RTK signals from the internet. Fixed base stations use sophisticated statistical methods to improve position accuracy to ≤2 cm. NTRIP, on the other hand, utilizes a network of RTK base stations for wider coverage.

What is RTK used for?

Any application requiring centimeter-level accuracy benefits from RTK technology, including mapping, precision agriculture, robotics and automation, mining, automotive, maritime, rail, and aerospace (UAS) industries.

Conker RTK Products

RTK, Rugged conker sx10 rtk How GNSS & RTK Technology Achieve High-Precision Positioning

Conker SX10 RTK

10 inch Rugged Android Tablet with high precision RTK GNSS

GNSS specification

  1. UM960 GNSS high precision positioning RTK module
  2. 20 Hz RTK positioning output
  3. GPS L1/L2/L5, GLONASS L1/L2, Galileo E1/E5a/E5b, QZSS L1/L2/L5, BDS B1I/B2I/B3I, plus SBAS
  4. Single point accuracy: Horizontal 1.5m, Vertical 2.5m
  5. RTK accuracy: Horizontal 0.8cm + 1 ppm, Vertical 1.5cm + 1 ppm

Find out more


Q: How does RTK technology improve GNSS positioning accuracy?
A: RTK corrects for signal distortions caused by the ionosphere and atmosphere, providing centimeter-level accuracy.

Q: What are the types of RTK correction signals?
A: RTK correction signals include radio RTK signals from fixed base stations and network RTK signals from the internet.

Q: What are the main applications of RTK technology?
A: RTK technology finds applications in mapping, precision agriculture, robotics and automation, mining, automotive, maritime, rail, and aerospace industries.

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Anthony Nicholson

Anthony Nicholson

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