Encyclopedia of Geodesy

Living Edition
| Editors: Erik Grafarend

GPS, Reference Systems

  • Geoffrey BlewittEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-02370-0_92-1


GPS . Global Positioning System, the US-operated Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) that can be used to determine a user’s position, in terms of latitude, longitude, and height coordinates, anywhere on the globe with a clear view of the sky.

Reference system. A conventionally adopted system that specifies precisely the meaning of a user’s position.

Essential Concepts

GPS consists of three segments: (1) the space segment of typically 30 satellites that transmit microwave ranging signals and signals containing information on satellite positions and satellite atomic clock time; (2) the control segment of globally distributed stations that monitor, control, and upload data to the space segment; and (3) the user segment consisting of anybody with a GPS receiver who uses the space segment to find their position (Hofmann-Wellenhof et al., 2008).

Geodetic coordinates, such as those obtained by GPS measurements, are generally defined with respect to some reference system that...


Reference Frame Global Navigation Satellite System Global Navigation Satellite System Reference System Very Long Baseline Interferometry 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.
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References and Reading

  1. Altamimi, Z., Collilieux, X., and Métivier, L., 2011. ITRF2008: an improved solution of the international terrestrial reference frame. Journal of Geodesy, 85(8), 457–473, doi:10.1007/s00190-011-0444-4.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. BIPM, 1998. The International System of Units (SI), 7th edn. Paris: International Bureau of Weights and Measures.Google Scholar
  3. IERS Conventions, 2010. In Petit, G., and Luzum, B. (eds.), IERS Technical Note 36. Frankfurt am Main: Verlag des Bundesamts für Kartographie und Geodäsie. 179 pp., ISBN 3-89888-989-6 (print version) http://www.iers.org/IERS/EN/Publications/TechnicalNotes/tn36.html
  4. Hofmann-Wellenhof, B., Lichtenegger, H., and Wasle, E., 2008. GNSS- Global Navigation Satellite Systems: GPS, GLONASS, Galileo, and More. Wein/New York: Springer. ISBN 978-3-211-73012-6.Google Scholar
  5. Moritz, H., 1980. Geodetic reference system 1980. Bulletin Géodésique, 54(3), 395–405.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. National Research Council, 2010. Precise Geodetic Infrastructure: National Requirements for a Shared Resource. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.Google Scholar
  7. Plag, H.-P., and Pearlman, M., 2009. Global Geodetic Observing System. Berlin: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Torge, W., 2003. Geodesy. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology/Seismological LaboratoryUniversity of NevadaRenoUSA