Sparse Network: Wide-area, sub-decimeter positioning for airborne LiDAR surveys
Colombo, O and Brunker, S and Jones, G and Janssen, V and Rizos, C, Sparse Network: Wide-area, sub-decimeter positioning for airborne LiDAR surveys, GPS World, North Coast Media, United States, 21, 10, pp. 44-50. (2010) [Magazine Article]
Airborne LiDAR surveys are amongst the most advanced means of producing high-resolution, accurate surface elevation models used for many applications in surveying and civil engineering. Precise geolocation and orientation (or georeferencing) of the LiDAR instrument with a combination of on-board GNSS and inertial sensors at the times when the measurements are made provides the key to high-quality elevation products. The usual practice deploys reference GPS/GNSS land receivers in the area where the aircraft will be flying, to obtain a precise trajectory by short-baseline differential GNSS techniques. This could mean installing and operating receivers at many sites during a flight mission if the area surveyed is a large one. We have tried a different approach: using as reference receivers those of a sparse network of Continuously Operating Reference Stations (CORS) in New South Wales known as CORSnet-NSW, and a wide-area GNSS technique for obtaining the aircraft trajectory with sub-decimeter accuracy even with baseline lengths of several hundred kilometers. We show that this is comparable in precision and accuracy to the short-baseline method, but without the cost and logistical complications. This opens up a new level of operational capability, allowing flexibility for weather conditions and priority response applications. The tests described here were organized and conducted by the NSW government's Land and Property Management Authority, in collaboration with the University of New South Wales, in June 2009.