Remote leveling of tide gauges using GNSS reflectometry: case study at Spring Bay, Australia
Santamaria-Gomez, A and Watson, C, Remote leveling of tide gauges using GNSS reflectometry: case study at Spring Bay, Australia, GPS Solutions, 21, (2) pp. 451-459. ISSN 1080-5370 (2017) [Refereed Article]
We further developed a new approach using GNSS reflectometry to determine the leveling connection between a tide gauge and a GNSS antenna. This approach includes the optimization of the unknown receiver bandwidth and the estimation of frequency changes in the signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) oscillation through an extended Kalman filter/smoother algorithm. We also corrected the geometric bending of the GNSS signals due to tropospheric refraction using local meteorological observations. Using 3 weeks of SNR data in Spring Bay, Australia, from a GNSS antenna placed sideways (i.e., ground plane orientated vertically and directed in azimuth toward the sea surface) to improve the SNR interference near the horizon, we obtained mean leveling differences of approximately 5 mm, with an RMS of approximately 3 cm level with respect to the nominal leveling from classical surveying techniques. SNR data from three different receiver manufacturers, coupled to the same antenna, provided similar leveling results. With a second antenna in the usual upright configuration, we obtained mean leveling differences of 1-2 cm and a RMS of about 10 cm. In the upright configuration, the leveling differences may include errors in the GNSS antenna phase center calibration, which are avoided in our technique but not in the classical surveying techniques. These results demonstrate the usefulness of the reflectometry technique to obtain precisely and remotely the leveling between a GNSS antenna and a tide gauge. In addition, this technique can be applied continuously, providing an independent and economical means to monitor the stability of the tide gauge zero.