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Modeling wide-area tropospheric delay corrections for fast PPP ambiguity resolution

Cui, Bobin; Wang, Jungang; Li, Pan; Ge, Maorong; Schuh, Harald

The performance of precise point positioning (PPP) has been significantly improved thanks to the continuous improvements in satellite orbit, clock, and ambiguity resolution (AR) technologies, but the convergence speed remains a limiting factor in real-time PPP applications. To improve the PPP precision and convergence time, tropospheric delays from a regional network can be modeled to provide precise correction for users. We focus on the precise modeling of zenith wet delay (ZWD) over a wide area with large altitude variations for improving PPP-AR. By exploiting the water vapor exponential vertical decrease, we develop a modified optimal fitting coefficients (MOFC) model based on the traditional optimal fitting coefficients (OFC) model. The proposed MOFC model provides a precision better than 1.5 cm under sparse inter-station distances over the Europe region, with a significant improvement of 70% for high-altitude stations compared to the OFC model. The MOFC model with different densities of reference stations is further evaluated in GPS and Galileo kinematic PPP-AR solutions. Compared to the PPP-AR solutions without tropospheric delay augmentation, the positioning precision of those with 100-km inter-station spacing MOFC and OFC is improved by 25.7% and 17.8%, respectively, and the corresponding time to first fix (TTFF) is improved by 36.9% and 33.0% in the high-altitude areas. On the other hand, the OFC model only slightly improves the TTFF and positioning accuracy when using the 200 km inter-station spacing modeling and even degrades the positioning for high-altitude stations, whereas using the MOFC model, the PPP-AR solutions always improve. Moreover, the positioning precision improvement of MOFC compared with OFC is about 22.1%, 21.7%, and 25.7% for the Galileo-only, GPS-only, and GPS + Galileo PPP-AR solutions, respectively.
Published in: GPS Solutions, 10.1007/s10291-022-01243-1, Springer Nature