12.540 Principles of Global Positioning Systems

Spring 2008

Artist's rendering of a Global Positioning System (GPS) satellite.
Artist's rendering of a Global Positioning System (GPS) satellite. (Image courtesy of USAF and USDOD.)

Course Description

The aim of this course is to introduce the principles of the Global Positioning System and to demonstrate its application to various aspects of Earth Sciences. The specific content of the course depends each year on the interests of the students in the class. In some cases, the class interests are towards the geophysical applications of GPS and we concentrate on high precision (millimeter level) positioning on regional and global scales. In other cases, the interests have been more toward engineering applications of kinematic positioning with GPS in which case the concentration is on positioning with slightly less accuracy but being able to do so for a moving object. In all cases, we concentrate on the fundamental issues so that students should gain an understanding of the basic limitations of the system and how to extend its application to areas not yet fully explored.

Technical Requirements

Special software is required to use some of the files in this course: .f, .h, .zip, and .m.

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Prof. Thomas Herring

Course Meeting Times

2 sessions / week
1.5 hours / session



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