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ERIC Number: EJ1126219
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013-May
Pages: 11
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-1089-9995
Teaching High-Accuracy Global Positioning System to Undergraduates Using Online Processing Services
Wang, Guoquan
Journal of Geoscience Education, v61 n2 p202-212 May 2013
High-accuracy Global Positioning System (GPS) has become an important geoscientific tool used to measure ground motions associated with plate movements, glacial movements, volcanoes, active faults, landslides, subsidence, slow earthquake events, as well as large earthquakes. Complex calculations are required in order to achieve high-precision positions and thereby high-accuracy displacement measurements. It is difficult to familiarize undergraduates with the complex data processing within a period of one semester. Several national organizations offer free online GPS processing services. Using these online services, a GPS beginner can bypass the complex aspect of data processing and focus on applications of the high-accuracy GPS technology. This paper introduces the author's experience using Online Positioning User Service, provided by the National Geodetic Survey (NGS) and Automatic Precise Positioning Service, provided by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in teaching two undergraduate courses, Applications of GPS in Geosciences and Geological Hazards, at the University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez. Two class projects, "Where is My House?" and "GPS Landslide Monitoring," were designed to practice GPS data collection, processing, and analysis. The enrollments of the two courses were about 10 senior undergraduate students. Online GPS data processing helped both the instructor and students in teaching and learning the intricacies of GPS data processing, understanding different reference frames and coordinate systems, and familiarizing local permanent reference stations. Students who had taken the GPS classes often help professors in the geology department and other departments to survey field sites with centimeter-level accuracy.
National Association of Geoscience Teachers. Carleton College W-SERC, One North College Street, Northfield, MN 55057. Tel: 540-568-6675; Fax: 540-568-8058; e-mail:; Website:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: National Science Foundation (NSF)
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Puerto Rico
Grant or Contract Numbers: EAR0842314