What You Need to Know About an RTK and How it Works


RTK uses two receivers, and one is stationary while the other moves. A base station sends corrections to the moving receiver, matching them with its input settings. Connecting more than one rover to a single base is possible, but the input settings must be matched for the rovers to function correctly. In addition, local services can share the base’s corrections over the internet, called NTRIP. Single-band receivers are called L1 receivers, while multi-band receivers can receive more data.

Types of RTK receivers

There are different types of RTK receivers available in the market. Single-frequency receivers take minutes to achieve an RTK fix, which is the highest possible positioning accuracy. Dual-antenna RTK receivers reduce convergence time to seconds, making them the ideal choice for challenging environments. These devices can also perform additional spoofing checks and anomaly detection. Besides being cost-effective, they also have other benefits.

Black-box RTK receivers are typically small and used for machine control and unmanned aerial vehicles. They are typically fitted with large memory, allowing them to store raw data and perform post-processing to give more accurate positions. These are more precise than satellites but have a small size. 

Generally, RTK systems use two types of receivers – a stationary one and a moving one. The stationary one transmits corrections to the mobile unit, using the data to produce highly accurate maps. Other applications of RTK include machine control systems, precision farming, and auto-drive/autopilot systems. RTK networks are designed to extend this technology to a larger geographic area. Regardless of the type of RTK receiver used, the operational accuracy and reliability of the system depend on the density of reference-station networks.


The two most common types of RTK receivers are GPS, Bluetooth, and NMEA. These newer technologies make acquiring centimeter-grade location data easier than ever. Even rental options are more affordable than buying an RTK-based navigation system. If you’re interested in finding the perfect RTK receiver, check out Bench Mark USA offers RTK GPS systems. You can make your GIS workflow mobile while getting high-quality RTK data.

Error correction techniques

The computation process for using an RTK is complex and time-consuming. The accuracy and operational reliability of RTK applications depend on the network density and the correction data’s accuracy. The RTK technique is unsuitable for general navigation, but it has many applications in surveying. A base station is positioned at the surveyed location, and the mobile unit can produce highly accurate maps based on its relative position. 

The accuracy of network RTK is enhanced by applying an interpolation computation model. Using an error correction model based on a three-dimensional linear combination, real-time effective differential correction information is interpolated. Moreover, the RTK algorithm also includes data about the lane. In urban areas, an RTK floating solution can provide sub-meter level accuracy. Error correction techniques with an RTK

Location of base stations

The first step in creating a GPS-enabled survey is to designate the location of the base stations. These are often installed on top of buildings, allowing the rovers a clear line of sight. In addition, the location should be well-spaced so that GPS surveys all rovers. The next step is to select the primary project control points. You will need fewer points to set up if you have a wide-open space.

Secondly, you should choose an RTK base station close to the work area. For better accuracy, you should consider using a system that allows you to get corrections within 1.5 cm every ten miles. Make sure you have an internet connection at the base station. If not, you may need to choose another system.

The most important step in an RTK survey is setting up a base station. An RTK base station should be positioned over a known position, and the tribrach should be attached to the tripod. Afterward, you should collect the data logger and check for any errors. Afterward, check the data logger to ensure that the base station location and antenna height are correct.

Distance between base station and rover

The distance between the base station and the rover is important for positioning and navigation accuracy. The base station broadcasts its location, and the rover receives this information. The rover then uses its equipment to fix phase ambiguities and determine its location relative to the base station. 

Once the rover has acquired the position information, it can also determine its position within a global coordinate framework. An ideal base station location is close to the mission, within a distance of 10 km or more. It should also have a clear line of sight with orbiting satellites. However, even at this distance, the base station must be located in a place with a clear line of sight to the rover.


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