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A Prototype System for Navigation in GPS-Challenged Environments

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Chris Rizos, Dorota A. Grejner-Brzezinska, Charles K. Toth, Andrew G. Dempster, Yong Li,  Nonie Politi, Joel Barnes, Hongxing Sun, and Leilei Li,

GPS World Magazine, March 2010.

A team of Australian and U.S. researchers have integrated a ground-based system with GPS and INS to create a hybrid system that provides precise and accurate positioning information continuously in a variety of environments where GPS comes up short.

The determination of the position and orientation (or “pointing direction”) of a device (or platform to which it is attached), to high accuracy, in all outdoor environments, using reliable and cost-effective technologies is something of a “holy grail” quest for navigation researchers and engineers.

However, ongoing research has identified two classes of applications that place stringent demands on the positioning/orientation device: (a) man-portable mapping and imaging systems that operate in a range of difficult urban and rural environments, often used for the detection of underground utility assets (such as pipelines, cables, conduits), unexploded ordnances and buried objects, and (b) the guidance/control of construction or mining equipment in environments where good “sky view” is not guaranteed.

The solution to this positioning/orientation problem is increasingly seen as being based on an integration of several technologies: satellite (GNSS including GPS) and terrestrial ranging systems, inertial navigation systems (INSs), laser guidance/scanning systems, and even electro-optical devices such as surveyors’ total stations or laser scanners. Each has its shortcomings, but within an integrated system, advantage can be taken of the complementary characteristics of several of these sensor technologies.

Read more…  GPS World, March 2010