Improving carrier-phase ambiguity resolution in global GPS network solutions
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Integer carrier-phase ambiguity resolution is one of the critical issues for precise GPS applications in geodesy and geodynamics. To resolve as many integer ambiguities as possible, the ‘most-easy-to-fix’ double-difference ambiguities have to be defined. For this purpose, several strategies are implemented in existing GPS software packages, such as choosing the ambiguities according to the baseline length or the variances of the estimated real-valued ambiguities. Although their efficiencies are demonstrated in practice, it is proven in this paper that they do not reflect all effects of varying data quality, because they are based on theoretical considerations of GPS data processing. Therefore, a new approach is presented, which selects the double-difference ambiguities according to their probability of being fixed to the nearest integer. The probability is computed from estimates and variances of wide-lane and narrow-lane ambiguities. Together with an optimized ambiguity fixing procedure, the new approach is implemented in the routine data processing for the International GPS Service (IGS) at GeoForschungsZentrum (GFZ) Potsdam. Within a sub-network of about 90 IGS stations, it is demonstrated that more than 97% of the independent ambiguities are fixed correctly compared to 75% by a commonly used method, and that the additionally fixed ambiguities improve the repeatability of the station coordinates by 10–26% in regions with sparse site distribution.
KeywordsGPS Integer ambiguity fixing Global network
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