Introduction to Satellite Navigation and Positioning


Credit Hours:


Learning Objective:

To introduce students in engineering and the sciences to the methods of satellite radio navigation. The key physical principles (eg., orbits, reference frames, electromagnetic propagation, atmospheric effects and statistical estimation) will be described in terms of their application to make a complete navigation system work. The specific architecture of the US Global Positioning System (GPS) and the Galileo system under development in Europe will be emphasized throughout.


This course is intended both for students who have an interest in the development of new satellite navigation technology (eg., receivers, signal processing or software) as well as for students looking to apply satellite navigation methods to problems in their own fields (eg., aircraft navigation, vehicle tracking, wireless device locating, surveying, agriculture and Earth science). The course will progress through all stages of the navigation problem, starting with the structure of the transmitted signals and the definition of coordinate systems, through to the integration of these with key physical models to generate estimates of the end user position.

Topics Covered:

Introduction (1 week)
Signal structure (2 weeks)
Satellite search (2 weeks)
Basic GNSS measurements (1 week)
Atmospheric effects and dual frequency measurements (2 weeks)
Carrier phase positioning (2 weeks)
Coordinate systems and time (1 week)
Orbits and data message (2 weeks)
Navigation solutions (2 weeks)


Knowledge of dynamics and linear systems. Computer programming experience (MATLAB desired).

Applied / Theory:

70 / 30

Web Address:

Web Content:

Syllabus, grades, lecture notes, homework assignments, solutions, chat room, WebEx, and message board.


5 to 6 homeworks. Homework assignments will involve a substantial amount of computer programming and data processing. Homeworks will be submitted through Brightspace.


Each student will be required to complete a comprehensive literature review on a topic of their choice, selected in consultation with the instructor. If possible, students are advised to find a project relevant to their job. Students are also expected to make some original contribution as part of their project. Examples of an original contribution include: independent reproduction of a published result; comparison of differenct approaches ot solving a problem; or applying a published method to a simple example problem.


No exams for this course.


Official textbook information is now listed in the Schedule of Classes. NOTE: Textbook information is subject to be changed at any time at the discretion of the faculty member. If you have questions or concerns please contact the academic department.
Required--Global Positioning System: Signals, Measurements and Performance, Misra, 2nd edition, ISBN 9780970954411

Computer Requirements:

ProEd Minimum computer requirements. Homeworks will require substantial computer programming. Students can use any language of their choice, although MATLAB is strongly preferred. Students are expected to know basic programming structure (loops, conditionals, etc) as well as be able to read formatted data files (text/ASCII).

Other Requirements:

MATLAB strongly recommended. Document camera. Powerpoint. Adobe Acrobat.

ProEd Minimum Requirements: