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SVY1110 Introduction to Global Positioning System

Semester 2, 2019 On-campus Toowoomba
Short Description: Introduction to GPS
Units : 1
Faculty or Section : Faculty of Health, Engineering and Sciences
School or Department : School of Civil Engineering and Surveying
Student contribution band : Band 2
ASCED code : 031101 - Surveying
Grading basis : Graded


Examiner: Chris McAlister


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/GNSS and outline their 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 (code and phase) 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/GNSS Fundamentals 15.00
4. Code observable 15.00
5. Phase observable 15.00
6. Differential (code & phase) GPS 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 expectations

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 Objectives Assessed Notes
Assignment 1 100 10 03 Sep 2019 1,2,3,4
Assignment 2 300 30 09 Oct 2019 5,6,7,8,9
Exam 600 60 End S2 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10 (see note 1)

  1. This will be a closed exam. The total working time for the examination is 2 hours. The examination date will be available via UConnect when the official examination timetable has been released.

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:
    Students should refer to the Assessment Procedure (point 4.2.4)

  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 next examination period.

  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. Students must familiarise themselves with the USQ Assessment Procedures (

  2. If other than electronic submission is specified for a course assessment, students will be notified of this on the Course Study Desk.

  3. 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.