ECE 4164 Introduction to Global Positioning System (GPS) Theory and Design | ECE | Virginia Tech

Undergraduate PROGRAMS

Course Information


Fundamental theory and applications of radio navigation with the Global Positioning System GPS. Satellite orbit theory, GPS signal structure and theory, point positioning with pseudoranges and carrier phases, selective availability, dilution of precision, differential GPS, atmospheric effect on GPS signals.

Why take this course?

The Global Positioning System GPS is one of the most powerful modern technologies. Civilian applications of GPS are rapidly growing and these applications will revolutionize our society in the near future. Many opportunities exist in industry and government agencies for engineers with background and formal training in GPS theory and design. This course will provide students with a firm background in the fundamentals of GPS theory and design. The course has a required weekly laboratory component which will provide students with hands on experience through laboratory experience and a design project.

Capstone Technical Elective for EE; Technical Elective for CPE


C- or better in 2014, 3106 or AOE 4134

3106 or AOE 4134: Provide fundamental backgrounds into the electromagnetic radiation and physical positioning of GPS satellites. The instructor may make judgement of adequate background on an individual basis to be able to meet the needs of the diverse nature of students that take the course.

Major Measurable Learning Objectives

  • Describe the fundamental theory and concepts of the Global Positioning System
  • Calculate GPS satellite orbit positions and velocities.
  • Calculate user position using GPS pseudorange data.
  • Calculate and analyze error sources for GPS user position calculations.
  • Correct GPS user position errors by using local area Differential GPS.
  • Organize and write technical reports
  • Organize and make technical presentations

Course Topics


Percentage of Course

Introduction to GPS and the Plessey GPS Receiver 5%
GPS Coordinate and Time Systems and Transformers 10%
Kepler Orbit Theory 20%
GPS Signal Structure and Theory 10%
Point Positioning with Pseudorange Measurements 10%
Selective Availability 10%
Dilution of Precision 10%
Refinements on the Navigation Solution 10%
Differential GPS 10%
Atmospheric Effects on GPS Signals 5%