Estimation Techniques and Mitigation Tools for Ionospheric effects on GNSS Receivers

TitleEstimation Techniques and Mitigation Tools for Ionospheric effects on GNSS Receivers
Publication TypeThesis
Year of Publication2015
AuthorsRomero R
UniversityPolitecnico di Torino
Thesis Typephd

Navigation is defined as the science of getting a craft or person from one place to another. The development of radio in the past century brought fort new navigation aids that enabled users, or rather their receivers, to compute their position with the help of signals from one or more radio-navigation system . The U.S. Global Positioning System (GPS) was envisioned as a satellite system for three-dimensional position and velocity determination fulfilling the following key attributes: global coverage, continuous/all weather operation, ability to serve high-dynamic platforms, and high accuracy. It represents the fruition of several technologies, which matured and came together in the second half of the 20th century. In particular, stable space-born platforms, ultra-stable atomic frequency standards, spread spectrum signaling, and microelectronics are the key developments in the realization and success of GPS. While GPS was under development, the Soviet Union undertook to develop a similar system called GLObalnaya NAvigatsionnaya Sputnikovaya Sistema (GLONASS). Both GLONASS and GPS were designed primarily for the military, but have transitioned in the past decades towards providing civilian and Safety-of-Life services as well. Other Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) are now being developed and deployed by governments, international consortia, and commercial interests. Among these are the European system Galileo and the Chinese system Beidou. Other regional systems are the Japanese Quasi-Zenith Satellite System and the Indian Gagan. GNSS have become a crucial component in countless modern systems, e.g. in telecommunication, navigation, remote sensing, precise agriculture, aviation and timing. One of the main threats to the reliable and safe operation of GNSS are the variable propagation conditions encountered by GNSS signals as they pass through the upper atmosphere of the Earth. In particular, irregular concentration of electrons in the ionosphere induce fast fluctuations in the amplitude and phase of GNSS signals called scintillations. The latter can greatly degrade the performance of GNSS receivers, with consequent economical impacts on service providers and users of high performance applications. New GNSS navigation signals and codes are expected to help mitigate such effects, although to what degree is still unknown. Furthermore, these new technologies will only come on line incrementally over the next decade as new GNSS satellites become operational. In the meantime, GPS users who need high performance navigation solution, e.g., offshore drilling companies, might be forced to postpone operations for which precision position knowledge is required until the ionospheric disturbances are over. For this reason continuous monitoring of scintillations has become a priority in order to try to predict its occurrence. Indeed, it is a growing scientific and industrial activity. However, Radio Frequency (RF) Interference from other telecommunication systems might threaten the monitoring of scintillation activity. Currently, the majority of the GNSS based application are highly exposed to unintentional or intentional interference issues. The extremely weak power of the GNSS signals, which is actually completely buried in the noise floor at the user receiver antenna level, puts interference among the external error contributions that most degrade GNSS performance. It is then of interest to study the effects these external systems may have on the estimation of ionosphere activity with GNSS. In this dissertation, we investigate the effect of propagation issues in GNSS, focusing on scintillations, interference and the joint effect of the two phenomena