Impact of Limited Satellite Visibility on Estimates of Vertical Land Movements

  • K. E. AbrahaEmail author
  • F. N. Teferle
  • A. Hunegnaw
  • R. Dach
Part of the International Association of Geodesy Symposia book series (IAG SYMPOSIA, volume 147)


The number of Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) satellites and their geometry directly affect the quality of positioning and derived satellite products. Accordingly, the International GNSS Service (IGS) recommends GNSS antennas to be installed away from natural and man-made surfaces and structures, which may affect the incoming signals through severe multipath or obstructions. Following these recommendations, continuous GNSS (cGNSS) stations are generally located in low multipath environments with minimal signal obstructions. However, some applications require GNSS antennas to be installed at specific locations in order to measure local processes. In support of sea level studies, cGNSS stations are established at or close to tide gauges in order to accurately monitor the local vertical land movements experienced by the sea level sensors. However, the environment at the tide gauge might not be optimal for GNSS observations due to the aforementioned station-specific effects, which may degrade the quality of coordinate solutions. This study investigates the impact of severe signal obstructions on long-term position time series for some selected stations. A masking profile from an actually obstructed site is extracted, simulated and applied to unobstructed IGS sites. To investigate these effects, we implemented a new feature called azimuth-dependent elevation masking in the Bernese GNSS Software version 5.2. We present our preliminary results on the use of this new feature to study the impact of different obstruction scenarios on long-term GNSS position time series and vertical land movement estimates. The results show that a certain obstruction, with the effect being highly dependent on its severity and azimuthal direction, affects all coordinate components with the effect being more significant for the Up component. Moreover, it causes changes in the rate estimates and increases the rate uncertainty with the effect being site-specific.


Azimuth-dependent masking Global navigation satellite systems Vertical land movements 



This work is funded by the Fonds National de la Recherche Luxembourg (contract number 6835562). The computational resources used in this study were provided by the High Performance Computing Facility at the University of Luxembourg. We also acknowledge the IGS, TIGA and UNAVCO/PBO for data and products.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • K. E. Abraha
    • 1
    Email author
  • F. N. Teferle
    • 1
  • A. Hunegnaw
    • 1
  • R. Dach
    • 2
  1. 1.Geophysics LaboratoryUniversity of LuxembourgLuxembourgLuxembourg
  2. 2.Astronomical InstituteUniversity of BernBernSwitzerland

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