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What type of data is collected by GPS?

4 March 2021

GPS systems are used to collect horizontal and vertical positional information. To determine a horizontal location on earth, signals from at least three satellites are required. A minimum of four satellite signals are needed for determination of vertical position. The accuracy of the GPS generated data depends on a number of factors such as satellite availability, tree coverage and urban canyons along with the capabilities of your GPS system.
For example, recreational systems such as those used by hikers for planning a route or in your mobile phone for basic navigation will provide positional accuracy of around 5-20m.  Mapping systems such as the best-selling Trimble Geo7x or Trimble TDC600 are usually from decimetre to 5m, more than adequate for navigating to a pre recorded point or positioning a manhole cover or lamppost. The most accurate and expensive systems are survey grade and can achieve cm accuracy often requiring specialist training to use them. Trimble’s most technologically advanced survey grade GNSS is the recently released Trimble R12i. which is used for setting-out, topographical surveys etc where accuracy is paramount.

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