Part of GETSI Field Collection: In this module, students will learn the fundamentals of global navigation satellite systems (GNSS, a more universal term than GPS) and how to apply these techniques beyond answering, "Where am I?" This module teaches how high-precision positioning enables geoscientists to track changes in the surface of the earth that would otherwise be imperceptible. Through brief classroom lectures, demonstrations, and field exercises, students learn both kinematic and static positioning techniques. This module is field-focused, minimizing lectures and computer work and maximizing student time spent designing and implementing surveys as well as analyzing the new data. Most units require half to a full day to execute, although some waiting time may be required for post-processing satellite data. Some prepared data sets are available for courses unable to collect data directly. Instructors can request support for equipment loans and some types of technical assistance from UNAVCO, which runs NSF's Geodetic Facility.
Webinar about teaching this module: Integrating GPS, SfM, and TLS into Geoscience Field Courses
Strengths of the Module
- This field-focused module balances brief, technical skill-building exercises against more in-depth assignments that require students to use higher order thinking to solve issues regarding technique appropriateness, trouble-shooting, and data interpretation.
- Units are written broadly so they can be applied in a variety of geologic settings and research questions. Most exercises can also be extracted from the module and used independently.
- Students must apply aspects of the analysis to societal challenges, leading to greater engagement and understanding of why these types of studies are undertaken.
- Quantitative skills are featured in the survey design - something often lacking in geoscience field courses.
- Teaching resources include a variety tips for successfully implementing the module in real field environments, including ideas for picking field sites and keeping student occupied once in the field.
- The skills learned regarding the collection and interpretation of GNSS data are practical in nature and can be valuable to both industry and research applications.
- Can be easily used in a summer field camp or in an academic year course with field components. Alternatively, Prepared data sets allow classroom courses to conduct similar analyses, even if they are unable to go into the field.
Prepared data sets »
Great fit for majors-level classes in:
- field geology
- environmental geology
- geographic information systems
- structural geology
- any course with an Earth science field component
Table of Contents
- Instructor Materials: Overview of the High Precision Positioning with Static and Kinematic GPS/GNSS Module
- Unit 1: GPS/GNSS Fundamentals
- Unit 2: Kinematic GPS/GNSS Methods
- Unit 2.1: Measuring Topography with Kinematic GPS/GNSS
- Unit 2.2: Change Detection with Kinematic GPS/GNSS
- Unit 3: Static GPS/GNSS Methods
- Equipment and Support
- Student Materials
- Instructor Stories
- Join the Community