Although GNSS is routinely used in smartphones and in-car navigation with an accuracy of a few meters, it can provide much more accurate positioning, of the order of centimetres in real time. Currently, there are two specific candidate GNSS techniques that can meet this real-time demand, namely PPP (Precise Point Positioning) and RTK (Real Time Kinematic). These two techniques, corresponding algorithms, error modelling and their implementation are at the core of the research training in TREASURE, which incorporates also the potential contribution of the other GNSS systems that are gradually becoming operational, such as Beidou and in particular Galileo, the European GNSS (EGNSS).

The project concentrates on research to pave the way for the development of a service that can ensure the enhanced real-time high accuracy positioning that is desperately needed by markets such as the Agri-Tech market and others that are becoming apparent as the project evolves and results are disseminated. The research challenges to achieve this goal have been tackled through dedicated WPs (Work Packages). The research is carried out by the 13 individual ESRs (Early Stage Researchers), who are enrolled in PhD study to tackle the varied interconnected research challenges.

TREASURE Work Packages

RESEARCHWork Package Title
WP1Ionospheric models and data assimilation
WP2Tropospheric models and real-time orbits
WP3Ionospheric scintillation and interference mitigation models and tools
WP4Real time PPP and NRTK algorithms
WP5Conceptual prototype and marketing
WP6Training and Dissemination

TREASURE’s Work Packages are designed according to the following methodology:

WP1 deals with ionospheric phenomena that need to be modelled and predicted to support the mitigation of their effects on (which is part of the task of WP3), as well as the development of real-time algorithms for (task of WP4) PPP and NRTK.

  • Real time short term forecasting models for scintillation and related ionospheric parameters to feed mitigation algorithms for PPP (ESR1);
  • 3D tomographic maps of electron density to support high accuracy GNSS solutions, allowing corrections to be obtained without the need for a mapping function (ESR2);
  • 3D tomographic electron density maps superimposed with a TID model and used to correct for the changes experienced in RTK (ESR3) 

WP2 deals with models to estimate and correct the effects of the troposphere on PPP and NRTK, as well as the development of real-time precise orbits, in particular for Galileo, which are required especially for PPP. 

  • Improved algorithms for the troposphere estimation and/or modelling, as well as development of numerical weather models, with special attention to severe weather circumstances (ESR4);
  • Multi-GNSS real time precise orbits and clocks, in particular for Galileo, with increased robustness and tailored to fulfil specific user requirements in terms of latency and accuracy (ESR13) 

WP3 exploits a software defined radio receiver to develop mitigation techniques for anthropogenic interference and ionospheric scintillation, which also limit the performance of real-time PPP and NRTK.

  • A carrier phase multi-frequency software defined radio receiver with a high degree of flexibility to support the different PPP and RTK needs (ESR5);
  • Estimation of anthropogenic interference sources (both intentional and unintentional) and the implementation of tailored mitigation for high accuracy applications, fully exploiting receiver design by software-radio techniques to allow subsequent implementation in fully operational receivers (ESR6);
  • Mitigation of scintillation effects on GNSS by ingesting scintillation forecast model outputs into the novel tracking jitter maps concept to improve stochastic modelling in PPP and RTK (ESR7)

WP4 cooperates with and takes full advantage of WPs 1, 2 and 3 to develop and implement the sought after high accuracy real-time PPP and NRTK algorithms. WP4 cannot succeed without a successful and strongly harmonised collaboration with the previous WPs.

  • Algorithms for the exploitation of the external information from the original outcomes of WP1 (ESR1, ESR2, ESR3), WP2 (ESR4, ESR13) and WP3 (ESR5, ESR6, ESR7) in PPP (ESR8);
  • Research on ambiguity resolution strategies incorporating TREASURE’s external information and the fixing of the correct cycle within seconds to allow instant cm level positioning accuracy (ESR9);
  • Analysing the input of TREASURE’s external information and algorithms, while optimising their integration into the existing RTK software and developing algorithms for optimised data and model transmission at user location (ESR10)

WP5 investigates the suitable and interoperable ICT infrastructure for the exploitation of TREASURE’s innovative tools and its ultimate real-time high accuracy EGNSS solution. A dedicated task in WP5 will scientifically research the strategy for introduction of this solution to the market.

  • Realize the technical feasibility study (TFS) for a suitable TREASURE ICT (Information Communication Technology) infrastructure, taking into account the potential integration with existing services. (ESR11);
  • A scientifically researched strategy for market introduction in view of current and future business opportunities, while studying the technical infrastructure of the future prototype (ESR12)

The step-change in GNSS real-time positioning proposed in this project will be its main research output – an output that will bring much-needed benefits to current industries such as agri-tech and offshore, and one which once fully proven and utilised in these industries will inspire its use by others. And as this real-time high accuracy becomes more easily available it is envisaged that it could become the new norm even in mass market applications.

For more details of the research and progress made by the TREASURE ESRs, please click here.