[Update: 4/17/18: Although I don’t think it changes the results of this experiment significantly, there was an issue with apparent interference from a USB hub and ethernet cable on the rover setup during this testing. See the next post for more details. ]
In my last post I demonstrated fairly similar fix rates and accuracies between an M8T single-frequency four-constellation solution and a SwiftNav Piksi dual-frequency two-constellation solution.
One advantage often mentioned for dual frequency solutions for moving rovers is that their faster acquisition times should help when fix is lost due to a complete outage of satellite view caused by an underpass or other obstruction. This makes sense since the dual frequency measurements should allow the ambiguities to be resolved again more quickly.
Since my last data set included several of these types of obstructions I thought it would be interesting to compare performance specifically for these cases.
To create the Google Earth images below I used the RTKLIB application POS2KML to translate the solution files to KML format files and then opened them with Google Earth.
Here are the raw observations for the first underpass I went under, Swift rover on the left, M8T rover on the right. In this case there was an overhead sign just before the underpass which caused a momentary outage on all satellites followed by about a two second outage from the underpass, followed by a period of half cycle ambiguity as the receivers re-locked to the carrier phases.
Here’s the internal Swift solution for the sign/underpass combo above at the top of the photo and a second underpass at the bottom of the photo. For the first underpass, the solution is lost at the sign, achieves a float solution (yellow) after about 9 seconds, then re-fixes (green) after 35 seconds.
Here’s the RTKLIB post-processed solution (forward only) for the Swift receivers with fix-and-hold low tracking gain enabled as described in my previous post. It looks like a small improvement for both underpasses. The solution loses fix at the sign but in this case maintains a float solution until the underpass.
Here’s the RTKLIB post-processed solution (same config) for the M8T receivers. Notice the no-solution gaps after the underpasses are shorter. In this case, for the upper underpass, a solid fix was re-achieved after about 21 sec.
Here’s a zoom in of the M8T solution (yellow dots) for the lower underpass. If the position were being used for lane management it looks like the float solution would probably be accurate enough for this. The other yellow line with no dots is the gap in the Swift solution.
Here’s a little further down the road. At this point the Swift solution achieves a float position at about the same time the M8T solution switches to fix. Lane management would clearly be more difficult with the initial Swift float solution.
Next, I’ll show a few images from another underpass. In this case I drove under the underpass from the left, turned around, then drove under the underpass again from the right. The Swift internal solution is on the left, the Swift RTKLIB solution in the middle, and the M8T RTKLIB solution on the right. Notice that the time to re-acquire a fix is fairly similar in all three cases.
Here is zoom in of the two Swift solutions, they are quite similar.
Here is a zoom-in of the M8T RTKLIB solution. Again, the float solution is achieved very quickly, and appears to be accurate enough for lane management.
My last test case was a combination urban canyon and parking structure. In the photo below, I drove off the main street to the back of the parking garage, underneath the pedestrian walkway, into the back corner, then underneath the back end of the garage and then back to the main street. I would consider this a quite challenging case for any receiver.
Here are the raw observations.
Here are the three solutions, again the Swift internal is on the left, the Swift RTKLIB in the center, and the M8T RTKLIB on the right.
Here is an image of the Swift internal solution.
Here is an image of the Swift RTKLIB solution
And here is an image of the M8T RTKLIB solution
In this case, the M8T RTKLIB solution appears to be the best.
So, this experiment seems to show that a dual frequency solution will not always handle satellite outages better than single frequency solutions. In this case, the extra Galileo and SBAS satellites in the M8T solution seem to have helped a fair bit, and the M8T solution is, at least to me, surprisingly good.
If anyone is interested in analyzing this data further, I have uploaded the raw data, real-time solutions, and config files for the post-processed solutions to the sample data sets on my website, available here. I should mention that there is an unexplained outage in the Swift base station data near the end of the data set. This could have been caused by many things, most of them unrelated to the Swift receiver, so all the analysis in both this post and the previous post were done only for the data before the outage.