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SVY1110 Introduction to Global Positioning System

Semester 2, 2012 On-campus Toowoomba
Units : 1
Faculty or Section : Faculty of Engineering & Surveying
School or Department : Surveying & Spatial Science
Version produced : 30 December 2013

Contents on this page


Examiner: Albert Kon-Fook Chong
Moderator: Peter Gibbings


Throughout the centuries, people have sought a simple way of determining where they are on Earth, and where they are heading. Positioning and navigation have always been one of the most basic problems facing civilisation. Today GPS has provided us with the ability to know where we are and where we are heading. GPS provides this worldwide navigation service by using a constellation of satellites orbiting the Earth. It is essential that surveyors, GIS specialists, and other casual users be familiar with the fundamentals of GPS and that they have a sound understanding of its uses, and the accuracy achievable by different GPS observation and reduction techniques.


The use of the Global Positioning System (GPS), for accurately determining positions on earth, has grown exponentially since the late 1980s and early 1990s. Today GPS is firmly entrenched in the general operations of professional surveying and GIS organisations. This course presents fundamental information on structure, characteristics and use of GPS and other Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS). Background information is provided and the basic principles of using the GNSS systems are introduced. The course has a bias towards the code observable and the use of GPS for asset mapping, but several sections dealing with higher accuracy measurement techniques make this course relevant to a wide range of students. Consequently, the information will be relevant to those seeking fundamental knowledge in areas of general GPS surveying, agriculture, machine guidance, mapping and general data collection.


The course objectives define the student learning outcomes for a course. On completion of this course, students should be able to:

  1. discuss the features and applications of GPS and its importance in society today;
  2. define coordinates systems likely to be encountered by GPS users and calculate and discuss GPS coordinates;
  3. describe global satellite navigation systems, satellite orbital characteristics, and satellite signal structure;
  4. define the fundamental characteristics of GPS and outline its development;
  5. discuss the principles of GPS observations, make observations using a GPS receiver, and calculate and analyse findings;
  6. explain GPS observations techniques, and calculate and evaluate levels of accuracy associated with GPS observations;
  7. demonstrate an understanding of error sources in GPS observations, and explain the uses and critical factors of Differential GPS techniques;
  8. identify and discuss project planning features when using GPS, and discuss the key steps in planning a GPS data collection project for asset mapping;
  9. explain GPS data collection and processing procedures, including Differential GPS, and evaluate collected and processed data;
  10. describe the use of GPS for asset mapping, and other common uses.


Description Weighting(%)
1. Introduction 5.00
2. GPS Coordinates 10.00
3. GPS Fundamentals 15.00
4. Code observable 15.00
5. Differential GPS 15.00
6. Phase observable 10.00
7. Project Planning 10.00
8. Collection and Processing 10.00
9. Asset Mapping and other Applications 10.00

Text and materials required to be purchased or accessed

ALL textbooks and materials available to be purchased can be sourced from USQ's Online Bookshop (unless otherwise stated). (

Please contact us for alternative purchase options from USQ Bookshop. (

  • There are no texts or materials required for this course.

Reference materials

Reference materials are materials that, if accessed by students, may improve their knowledge and understanding of the material in the course and enrich their learning experience.

Student workload requirements

Activity Hours
Assessments 30.00
Examinations 2.00
Lectures 24.00
Practical Classes 24.00
Private Study 75.00

Assessment details

Description Marks out of Wtg (%) Due Date Notes
ASSIGNMENT 1 300 30 10 Sep 2012
PART A OF 2 HOUR CLOSED EXAM 300 30 End S2 (see note 1)

  1. The 2 hour examination is in two parts. Part A requires an Examination Answer Sheet. Part B requires an Answer Booklet. Student Administration will advise students of the dates of their examinations during the semester.

Important assessment information

  1. Attendance requirements:
    It is the students' responsibility to attend and participate appropriately in all activities (such as lectures, tutorials, laboratories and practical work) scheduled for them, and to study all material provided to them or required to be accessed by them to maximise their chance of meeting the objectives of the course and to be informed of course-related activities and administration.

  2. Requirements for students to complete each assessment item satisfactorily:
    To complete each of the assessment items satisfactorily, students must obtain at least 50% of the marks available (or at least a grade of C-) for each assessment item.

  3. Penalties for late submission of required work:
    If students submit assignments after the due date without (prior) approval of the examiner then a penalty of 5% of the total marks gained by the student for the assignment may apply for each working day late up to ten working days at which time a mark of zero may be recorded. No assignments will be accepted after model answers have been posted.

  4. Requirements for student to be awarded a passing grade in the course:
    To be assured of receiving a passing grade in a course a student must obtain at least 50% of the total weighted marks for the course.

  5. Method used to combine assessment results to attain final grade:
    The final grades for students will be assigned on the basis of the weighted aggregate of the marks (or grades) obtained for each of the summative assessment items in the course.

  6. Examination information:
    In a Closed Examination, candidates are allowed to bring only writing and drawing instruments into the examination.

  7. Examination period when Deferred/Supplementary examinations will be held:
    Any Deferred or Supplementary examinations for this course will be held during the examination period at the end of the semester of the next offering of this course.

  8. University Student Policies:
    Students should read the USQ policies: Definitions, Assessment and Student Academic Misconduct to avoid actions which might contravene University policies and practices. These policies can be found at

Assessment notes

  1. The due date for an assignment is the date by which a student must despatch the assignment to USQ. The onus is on the student to provide proof of the dispatch date, if requested by the Examiner.

  2. Students must retain a copy of each item submitted for assessment. This must be despatched to USQ within 24 hours if required by the Examiner.

  3. In accordance with University Policy, the Examiner may grant an extension of the due date of an assignment in extenuating circumstances.

  4. If electronic submission of assessments is specified for the course, students will be notified of this in the course Introductory Book and on the USQ Study Desk. All required electronic submission must be made through the Assignment Drop Box located on the USQ Study Desk for the course, unless directed otherwise by the examiner of the course. The due date for an electronically submitted assessment is the date by which a student must electronically submit the assignment. The assignment files must be submitted by 11.55pm on the due date using USQ time (as displayed on the clock on the course home page; that is, Australian Eastern Standard Time).

  5. If the method of assessment submission is by written, typed or printed paper-based media students should (i) submit to the Faculty Office for students enrolled in the course in the on-campus mode, or (ii) mail to the USQ for students enrolled in the course in the external mode. The due date for the assessment is the date by which a student must (i) submit the assessment for students enrolled in the on-campus mode, or (ii) mail the assessment for students enrolled in the external mode.

  6. The Faculty will NOT normally accept submission of assessments by facsimile or email.

  7. Students who do not have regular access to postal services for the submission of paper-based assessments, or regular access to Internet services for electronic submission, or are otherwise disadvantaged by these regulations may be given special consideration. They should contact the examiner of the course to negotiate such special arrangements prior to the submission date.

  8. Students who have undertaken all of the required assessments in a course but who have failed to meet some of the specified objectives of a course within the normally prescribed time, may be awarded one of the temporary grades: IM (Incomplete - Make up), IS (Incomplete - Supplementary Examination) or ISM (Incomplete - Supplementary Examination and Make up_. A temporary grade will only be awarded when, in the opinion of the Examiner, a student will be able to achieve the remaining objectives of the course after a period of non directed personal study.

  9. Students who, for medical, family/personal, or employment-related reasons, are unable to complete an assignment or to sit for an examination at the scheduled time, may apply to defer an assessment in a course. Such a request must be accompanied by appropriate supporting documentation. The following temporary grade may be awarded: IDM (Incomplete Deferred Make up).

  10. Harvard (AGPS) is the referencing system required in this course. Students should use Harvard (AGPS) style in their assignments to format details of the information sources they have cited in their work. The Harvard (AGPS) style to be used is defined by the USQ Library's referencing guide.

Other requirements

  1. Students will require access to e-mail and internet access to UConnect for this course.