The International Archives of the Photogrammetry, Remote Sensing and Spatial Information Sciences
Publications Copernicus
Articles | Volume XLII-3
30 Apr 2018
 | 30 Apr 2018


Q. Zhang, P. Zhang, Z. Sun, F. Wang, and X. Wang

Keywords: Time Synchronization, GPS Common-View, GPS

Abstract. In recent years, with the development of satellite orbit and clock parameters accurately determining technology and the popularity of geodetic GPS receivers, Common-View (CV) which proposed in 1980 by Allan has gained widespread application and achieved higher accuracy time synchronization results. GPS Common View (GPS CV) is the technology that based on multi-channel geodetic GPS receivers located in different place and under the same common-view schedule to receiving same GPS satellite signal at the same time, and then calculating the time difference between respective local receiver time and GPST by weighted theory, we will obtain the difference between above local time of receivers that installed in different station with external atomic clock. Multi-channel geodetic GPS receivers have significant advantages such as higher stability, higher accuracy and more common-view satellites in long baseline time synchronization application over the single-channel geodetic GPS receivers. At present, receiver hardware delay and surrounding environment influence are main error factors that affect the accuracy of GPS common-view result. But most error factors will be suppressed by observation data smoothing and using of observation data from different satellites in multi-channel geodetic GPS receiver. After the SA (Selective Availability) cancellation, using a combination of precise satellite ephemeris, ionospheric-free dual-frequency P-code observations and accurately measuring of receiver hardware delay, we can achieve time synchronization result on the order of nanoseconds (ns).
In this paper, 6 days observation data of two IGS core stations with external atomic clock (PTB, USNO distance of two stations about 6000 km) were used to verify the GPS common-view theory. Through GPS observation data analysis, there are at least 2–4 common-view satellites and 5 satellites in a few tracking periods between two stations when the elevation angle is 15°, even there will be at least 2 common-view satellites for each tracking period when the elevation angle is 30°. Data processing used precise GPS satellite ephemeris, double-frequency P-code combination observations without ionosphere effects and the correction of the Black troposphere Delay Model. the weighted average of all common-viewed GPS satellites in the same tracking period is taken by weighting the root-mean-square error of each satellite, finally a time comparison data between two stations is obtained, and then the time synchronization result between the two stations (PTB and USNO) is obtained. It can be seen from the analysis of time synchronization result that the root mean square error of REFSV (the difference between the local frequency standard at the mid-point of the actual tracking length and the tracked satellite time in unit of 0.1 ns) shows a linear change within one day, However the jump occurs when jumping over the day which is mainly caused by satellites position being changed due to the interpolation of two-day precise satellite ephemeris across the day. the overall trend of time synchronization result is declining and tends to be stable within a week-long time. We compared the time synchronization results (without considering the hardware delay correction) with those published by the International Bureau of Weights and Measures (BIPM), and the comparing result from a week earlier shows that the trend is same but there is a systematic bias which was mainly caused by hardware delays of geodetic GPS receiver. Regardless of the hardware delay, the comparing result is about between 102 ns and 106 ns. the vast majority of the difference within 2 ns but the difference of individual moment does not exceed 4ns when taking into account the systemic bias which mainly caused by hardware delay. Therefore, it is feasible to use the geodetic GPS receiver to achieve the time synchronization result in nanosecond order between two stations which separated by thousands kilometers, and multi-channel geodetic GPS receivers have obvious advantages over single-channel geodetic GPS receivers in the number of common-viewing satellites. In order to obtain higher precision (e.g sub-nanosecond order) time synchronization results, we shall take account into carrier phase observations, hardware delay ,and more error-influencing factors should be considered such as troposphere delay correction, multipath effects, and hardware delays changes due to temperature changes.