Please note: there may be some adjustments to the teaching arrangements published in the course catalogue for 2020-21. Given current circumstances related to the Covid-19 pandemic it is anticipated that some usual arrangements for teaching on campus will be modified to ensure the safety and wellbeing of students and staff on campus; further adjustments may also be necessary, or beneficial, during the course of the academic year as national requirements relating to management of the pandemic are revised.

GNSS and Geodesy GEOG5012

  • Academic Session: 2022-23
  • School: School of Geographical and Earth Sciences
  • Credits: 10
  • Level: Level 5 (SCQF level 11)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes
  • Available to Erasmus Students: Yes

Short Description

This course introduces Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS), with a focus on positioning - including hands-on practical experience of collecting and processing data. It also details co-ordinate reference systems and gives an overview of other satellite geodesy techniques.


Normally Thursdays in first 1/2 of semester 2

Requirements of Entry

Normally entry to MSc programme in Geospatial and Mapping Sciences, or MSc Land & Hydrographic Surveying


Geospatial Fundamentals (GEOG5008)


Coursework - GNSS research analysis and communication portfolio- 40%; 

Examination 60%

Main Assessment In: April/May

Course Aims

■ To revisit geoid, ellipsoid and terrestrial reference systems

■ To introduce time systems, satellite orbital motion and radio signal propagation

■ To describe modern GPS/GNSS techniques

■ To provide opportunities to gain practical experience in GPS data processing

■ To allow the students to investigate potential applications of GNSS

■ To introduce other Space Geodesy techniques, especially those that contribute to the International Terrestrial Reference Frame (ITRF)

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

On completing this unit students will be able to:

■ Describe how GNSS works (including time, orbits, signals, etc)

■ Give an overview of space geodesy capabilities and how they contribute to the ITRF

■ Describe the mathematical models for pseudo-range and carrier phase-based modes of positioning

■ Explain the mathematical models for both single receiver (absolute) positioning and relative positioning

■ Describe and assess GNSS error sources and biases, e.g. atmospheric delays and multipath

■ Select an appropriate working mode for a particular application

■ Discuss current status and future trends of GNSS

■ Process GNSS data using appropriate software and critically analyse the results

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

 Attendance at all practical sessions