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MS - Global Navigation Satellite Systems

Institute of Space Technology, being the pioneer institute in space science, technology and applications reckoned the need of research and qualified human resource in the field of precise positioning, navigation and timing (PNT) and started a specialized Master of Science program in Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) in spring 2014. The program is structured according to the GNSS curriculum proposed and designed by the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) and the only program of its kind in Pakistan and the 4th across the globe after Italy, China and France. The MS GNSS course work covers eight subjects (24 credit hours) covering specific areas of GNSS (theory, technology and applications) followed by a six credit hours research thesis.

Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) include constellations of Earth orbiting satellites in Medium Earth Orbits (MEO), networks of ground control and monitoring stations, and of receivers that calculate ground positions by the basic principle of trilateration. At present GNSS include two fully operational global navigation systems, the Global Positioning System (GPS) by US and the GLObal NAvigation Satellite System (GLONASS) by Russia. China has recently completed the launch of Beidou system while GALILEO by Europe is in the final phase of completion. In addition to global navigation systems, India has its own Regional Navigation Satellite System named as IRNSS / NavIC and Japan has the Quasi-Zenith Satellite System (QZSS). Once all these global and regional systems become fully operational, the user will have access to positioning, navigation and timing signals from more than 100 satellites. In addition to global and regional navigation satellite systems, there are also space based augmentation systems namely the Wide-area Augmentation System (WAAS) by US, the European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service (EGNOS), the Russian System of Differential Correction and Monitoring (SDCM), the Indian GPS Aided Geo Augmented Navigation (GAGAN) and Japanese Multi-functional Transport Satellite (MTSAT) Satellite-based Augmentation Systems (MSAS).

GNSS applications offer a cost-effective way of pursuing sustainable growth and provide solution to nearly all the SDGs. The applications and market of GNSS is enormous and employed in all sectors namely space/air/land/marine transportation and management, construction and survey, mining , health, fishing, agriculture, livestock management, space weather monitoring, telecommunications , electric power management, help and rescue, law enforcement, disaster and emergency response, finance and more. Keeping in view the wide application of GNSS, the specific objectives of the graduate program in GNSS are the demonstration and understanding of GNSS constellations, signals, errors, augmentation, sensors integration, receivers and practical applications development.

As we move forward in the 21st century, governments and business in developing and industrialized countries are exploring potential growth areas for their national economies. Almost without exception, the most promising option seems to be the outer space, and in particular the satellite positioning, navigation and timing (PNT).

Sr. No. Course Code Subject Name Credits
1 720201 Fundamentals of GNSS 3-0
2 720202 GNSS Mathematics and Positioning Techniques 3-0
3 720203 Space Weather and GNSS 3-0
4 720204 GNSS Signal Processing 3-0
5 720205 GNSS Receivers 3-0
6 720206 GNSS Augmentation Systems 3-0
7 720207 GNSS INS Integration 3-0
8 720208 GNSS Applications 3-0
9 Thesis 6-0

Detail of Courses

  1. Fundamental of GNSS (720201)
    1. History of Navigation: Astronomical Methods, Inertial Navigation, Radio Navigation, GNSS
    2. Evolution of GNSS: NAVSTAR- GPS - GLONASS - Galileo - Beidou
    3. Regional Navigation Satellite Systems: QZSS - BeiDou-1 - IRNSS / NAVIC - Others
    4. Introduction to Satellite Technology: Satellites - Satellite Subsystems - Types of Orbits - Satellite Applications
    5. GNSS Signal in Space: Signal Structure - Signal Modulation - Navigation Message
    6. GNSS Positioning Techniques: Orbital Mechanics - Reference Systems (Coordinate, Height, Time) - GNSS Observables - Single Point Positioning
    7. Space Weather & GNSS Errors: Solar Physics - Layers of Atmosphere - Errors (Satellite Based - Space Based - Environment Based - Ground/Receiver Based
    8. Augmentation Systems: WAAS - SDCM - EGNOS - MSAS - GAGAN - G-BAS - CORS - Assisted GNSS - GNSS Performance Parameters
    9. GNSS Receivers: Architecture - Acquisition - Tracking – Navigation
    10. GNSS Applications & Market: Sensors Integration - Transportation, Agriculture, Health & Rescue, Others
  2. GNSS Mathematics and Position Determination Techniques (720202)
    1. Introduction to Positioning Techniques: Classical Methods to Radio Navigation Astronomical Methods, Inertial Methods, Radio Navigation, GNSS, RNSS, Augmentation
    2. Reference Systems: Coordinate Systems , Height Systems , Time Systems
    3. Orbital Mechanics: Kepler's and Newton’s Law, Two Body Problem, Keplerians, Types of Orbits
    4. Satellite Positioning Determination: Identifying Keplarians, Satellite Position Determination, Azimuth & Elevation Determination, Sky plot, Satellite positioning through RINEX file
    5. Single Point Positioning without Errors: Trilateration, GNSS Observables, Pseudorange code equations development, Linearization and Solution of Non-Linear Equations , Least Square Estimation, positioning algorithm development
    6. Single Point Positioning With Errors: GNSS Errors - Modeling - positioning algorithm development, dilution of precision (DOP)
    7. User Positioning Using MATLAB
    8. Other Positioning Techniques : Differential Positioning , Relative Positioning
      Precise Point Positioning, Hybrid Positioning, Multi-Constellation Positioning
  3. Space Weather and GNSS (720203)
    1. Space Weather : Sun, solar activity, solar wind, coronal mass ejections, magnetic storms
    2. Layers of Atmosphere: Troposphere, Stratosphere, Mesosphere, Thermosphere. Exosphere
    3. Impact of Space Weather on GNSS: GNSS Satellites, Signal in Space, Positioning
    4. Tropospheric Errors: Causes, impact, monitoring, error modeling and error mitigation Techniques
    5. Ionospheric Errors: Causes, impact, monitoring, error modeling and error mitigation techniques, scintillations, Ionosphere datasets & sources
    6. TEC Monitoring & Applications: TEC Monitoring using Ground Instruments, using GNSS, Application of TEC
    7. Space Weather Monitoring: GNSS-based monitoring of the ionosphere by ground and space based measurements
    8. Space Weather Applications
  4. GNSS Signal Processing (720204)
    1. Introduction of Radio Navigation: Navigation - Radio Navigation – GNSS
    2. GNSS Signal Structure: Electromagnetic Spectrum - Signal Structure - Data - PRN Code - Signal Generation – ICD
    3. GNSS Signal Modulation: Analog and Digital Signals - Sampling and Quantization - Modulation and its Techniques
    4. Multiple Access: Multiplexing and Multiple Access Techniques
    5. GNSS Signal Transmission Errors: Ionospheric Effects - Tropospheric Effects - Multipath Effects - Cycle Slip Errors
    6. GNSS Signal Reception: GNSS Antennas - Signal Power - GNSS Front End
    7. GNSS Signal Conditioning: Mixers, filters, AGC, ADC
    8. GNSS Receiver Processing: Acquisition - Signal Detection - Tracking - Matched Filters - Extraction of Navigation message - Receiver Architecture
    9. GNSS Signal Vulnerabilities, Threats and Countermeasures: Spoofing - Jamming - Mitigation Techniques
    10. Software Exercises : MATLAB Based GNSS signal processing
  5. GNSS Receivers (720205)
    1. GNSS Signal in Space: Signal Generation, Signal Modulation, Multiple Access, Signal Structure, Data, PRN Code, ICD
    2. GNSS Receiver Architecture: Antenna - Front End - Acquisition Loop - Tracking Loop - Navigation Solution
    3. GNSS Signal Reception: GNSS Antenna - Signal Power - GNSS Front End
    4. Correlator : Carrier Loops - FLL, PLL and Costas - Code Loop - DLL - DCO/NCO, Carrier/Code Generator, mixer, Discriminator
    5. Signal Acquisition: Delay-Doppler search
    6. Tracking : Signal Synchronization
    7. Navigation Solution : Least-Square Solution, Kalman Filtering Solution, Code based and Code-Carrier Based Positioning
    8. Software Defined Radio : Post-Processing vs. Real-Time SDRs, Software Defined Correlator, FLL/PLL/DLL Discriminators
    9. Software Exercises : MATLAB Exercises on GNSS Receiver
  6. GNSS Augmentation Systems (720206)
    1. Performance Parameters : Accuracy, Availability, Continuity, Integrity
    2. GNSS Errors and Mitigation Techniques: GNSS Error & Mathematical Models with mitigation techniques
    3. Space Based Augmentation Systems: WAAS - SDCM - EGNOS - GAGAN - MSAS
    4. Ground Based Augmentation System : Local Area Augmentation Systems, CORS
      Assisted GNSS, Cellular Assistance, Sensor Integration
    5. Differential Positioning: Code Based, Carrier Based, Ambiguity Resolution
    6. Relative Positioning: Baseline Mathematics, Differencing Techniques
    7. Reliability in Positioning
    8. Software Exercises: RTK Lib
  7. GNSS INS Integration (720207)
    1. Introduction to Inertial Navigation Systems: Navigation - INS - GNSS - Inertial Sensors
    2. Mathematics of Inertial Navigation & Integrated Navigation systems: Vector Algebra, Matrix Theory, Introduction to Various Frames of Reference, Different techniques employed for reference frame transformation (Directional Cosine Matrices, Euler Angles, Quaternions)
    3. Platform Inertial Navigation Systems
    4. Strap down Inertial Navigation Systems
    5. Inertial Sensors & Their Types: Gyros and Accelerometers, and IMUs
    6. Derivation of General Mathematical Equations for Solutions: Position, Velocity and Attitude of moving vehicle in 3D
    7. Mechanization of INS in Frames of Reference: ENU Frame of reference, Wander Azimuth frame of reference
    8. Mechanization of Inertial Navigation Computation in Inertial Frame and Site Annexed Inertial Frames of references
    9. Derivation of Error Equations for Inertial Navigation Computations & Error Models in different frames of reference: Position Errors, Velocity Errors and Attitude Errors
    10. Introduction to Kalman Filtering Algorithm and Applications
    11. Introduction to integrated navigation systems
    12. Case Study and implementation of INS
  8. GNSS Applications (720207)
    1. GNSS Market & Applications: New Trends - Challenges & Opportunities
    2. GISc & Remote Sensing Applications: Basics of GISc & Remote Sensing, Georeferencing, Digitization, Raster & Vector Data Analysis, Mapping
    3. Agriculture & Livestock Applications: Livestock Tracking, Health Monitoring, Geofencing - Precision Agriculture, Autonomous Agro-Vehicles
    4. Transportation Applications: Space Vehicles, Arial Vehicles, Civil Aviation, Train Transportation, Road Transportation, Marine Transportation - Tracking, Guidance, Monitoring, Autonomous driving
    5. PNT Applications: Precision Positioning, Search & Rescue, Surveying, Smart Cities, Machine Control, Mining, Timing, Construction, Structural Monitoring
    6. Project Management: Fundamentals of Project Management, Project Management Cycle, Project Management Process Groups, GNSS Stake Holders Identification
    7. Business Models & Local Market: Introduction to Business Models, Finance Models, Revenue Models, Business Prospects in local and international industry

GNSS lab at IST is equipped with state of the art multi constellation and multi frequency receivers, training kits and allied equipment with high power workstations to provide students with hands on technical experience. The lab is specially designed for the research in following domains:

  1. GNSS Constellation Design
  2. GNSS Receiver Development and Testing
  3. GNSS Augmentation Research (GBAS & SBAS)
  4. Jamming and Spoofing Technologies
  5. GNSS Applications for Location Based Services
  6. GNSS Signal and Integrity Monitoring
  7. Ionosphere and TEC monitoring
  8. Precise GNSS Technologies
  9. GNSS Applications with RS & GISc
  10. Applications of GNSS in Satellite Attitude Determination

a. GNSS Reference Books

Sr. No. Title Author
1. GNSS–Global Navigation Satellite Systems GPS, GLONASS, Galileo, and more Bernhard Hofmann, Wellenhof Herbert Lichtenegger, Elmar Wasle
2. Global Positioning System: Theory and Applications Bradford W. Parkinson, James J. Spilker Jr.
3. Understanding GPS/GNSS - Principles and Applications Elliott D. Kaplan, Christopher J. Hegarty
4. A Software-Defined GPS and Galileo Receiver - A Single-Frequency Approach Kai Borre, Dennis M. Akos, Nicolaj Bertelsen, Peter Rinder, Søren Holdt Jensen
5. A-GPS: Assisted GPS, GNSS, and SBAS Frank van Diggelen
6. Global Navigation Satellite Systems – Signal, Theory And Applications Shuanggen Jin
7. Global Positioning Systems, Inertial Navigation, and Integration Angus P. Andrews, Lawrence R. Weill, and Mohinder S. Grewal
8. GPS - Theory, Algorithms and Applications Guochang Xu · Yan Xu
9. Linear Algebra, Geodesy, and GPS Gilbert Strang, Kai Borre
10. Global Navigation Satellite Systems and Their Applications Scott Madry

b. Website Links

Sr. No. Link Organization
1. GPS
3. Galileo
4. BeiDou
9. GSA
10. ICG
11. IGS
13. Navipedia
Academic Labs
14. gAGE
16. PAG
18. LDT
20. PLAN

c. Technical Tools

Freely available technical resources:
Sr. No. Tool Link Courtesy
5. Analysis Tools from Google Google
  • BS/ BE/ M.Sc./ equivalent (16 Years of education) preferably in one of the below mentioned field of studies with minimum CGPA = 2.00 out of 4.00 or 60% marks (where CGPA not available) from HEC and PEC (where applicable) recognized Institute/ University or from Foreign Institute/ University of good repute:
    • Electrical/ Electronics/ Communications/ Computer/ Aerospace / Avionics / Aeronautical/ Mechatronics/ Civil/ Geomatics/ Software/ Environmental Engineering or
    • BS RS&GIS/ Environmental Science/ Geomatics/ Electronics /Communication Systems / Physics / Space Science or
    • MSc Electronics /Communication / Physics / Space Science
  • GAT-A or GAT-C (General) conducted by NTS in the relevant field of study with = 50% marks or HAT (General) conducted by HEC in the relevant field of study with = 50% marks or GRE International (General) conducted by ETS, USA, with minimum score as Quantitative: 145, Verbal: 145, Analytical: 3.5

Dr. Najam Abbas Naqvi (Program Head)
Email: |
Phone: +92(0)-51-907-5578 | +92(0)-321-5041155
GNSS Lab (Lab – 311), Naqvi Block
Institute of Space Technology, Islamabad Highway,
Islamabad, Pakistan.