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Impact of the arc length on GNSS analysis results

An Erratum to this article was published on 31 March 2016


Homogeneously reprocessed combined GPS/GLONASS 1- and 3-day solutions from 1994 to 2013, generated by the Center for Orbit Determination in Europe (CODE) in the frame of the second reprocessing campaign REPRO-2 of the International GNSS Service, as well as GPS- and GLONASS-only 1- and 3-day solutions for the years 2009 to 2011 are analyzed to assess the impact of the arc length on the estimated Earth Orientation Parameters (EOP, namely polar motion and length of day), on the geocenter, and on the orbits. The conventional CODE 3-day solutions assume continuity of orbits, polar motion components, and of other parameters at the day boundaries. An experimental 3-day solution, which assumes continuity of the orbits, but independence from day to day for all other parameters, as well as a non-overlapping 3-day solution, is included into our analysis. The time series of EOPs, geocenter coordinates, and orbit misclosures, are analyzed. The long-arc solutions were found to be superior to the 1-day solutions: the RMS values of EOP and geocenter series are typically reduced between 10 and 40 %, except for the polar motion rates, where RMS reductions by factors of 2–3 with respect to the 1-day solutions are achieved for the overlapping and the non-overlapping 3-day solutions. In the low-frequency part of the spectrum, the reduction is even more important. The better performance of the orbits of 3-day solutions with respect to 1-day solutions is also confirmed by the validation with satellite laser ranging.

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  1. 1.

    Summaries of the analysis strategies for each AC can be found at

  2. 2.

    The draconitic year of a satellite represents the revolution period of the Sun with respect to its orbital plane.

  3. 3.

    The 3-day solution is the C3 solution defined in Sect. 3.

  4. 4.

    CODE, the Center for Orbit Determination in Europe, is a joint venture of the Astronomical Institute, University of Bern (AIUB), the Federal Office of Topography (swisstopo), the Bundesamt für Kartographie und Geodäsie (BKG), and the Institut für Astronomische und Physikalische Geodäsie, Technische Universität München (TUM).

  5. 5.

    Very Long Baseline Interferometry.

  6. 6.

    Doppler Orbitography and Radiopositioning Integrated by Satellite.

  7. 7.

    Summary of the analysis strategy:


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This analysis would not have been possible without the raw data and the products made available by the ILRS (Pearlman et al. 2002) and the IGS (Dow et al. 2009). Extensive use was made, as well, of the combined space-geodetic solutions for the EOPs generated by the IERS (Dick and Thaller 2014). This coordinating and combination work is gratefully acknowledged.

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Correspondence to Simon Lutz.

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Lutz, S., Meindl, M., Steigenberger, P. et al. Impact of the arc length on GNSS analysis results. J Geod 90, 365–378 (2016).

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  • GPS
  • Orbits
  • Earth orientation parameters