Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor

Dr. Ahmed EI Mowafy

Second Advisor

Dr. Hussein Harahsheh

Third Advisor

Nazmi Saleous


Several challenging applications and construction works demand real-time measurements for positioning at the centimeter-level accuracy. This positioning accuracy can be obtained by using a Global Positioning System (GPS) roving unit and employing a single reference station (base-station) or through utilizing the service of multiple reference stations forming a Real-Time Kinematics (RTK) Reference Network.

The limitation of the single reference approach is that measurement errors are distance dependent and good accuracy can be only obtained when distances are less than 10 kms. In addition, this method requires a nearby Geodetic Control Point (GCP). Recently, RTK reference networks are widely established in modern cities all over the world. The popularity of RTK reference networks is due to the benefit of providing real-time accurate and consistent GPS data over a wide geographical area using a single GPS rover without the need to be referred to a nearby GCP.

Designing and implementing an RTK reference network is a challenging task. The system performance and cost are highly related to the distance between stations, nature of buildings hosting the reference stations as well as type and methods of communications. Thus, a modern tool such as the Geographic Information Systems (GIS) that can integrate geographic information and several types of heterogeneous data can be used to effectively optimize the design and implementation of the RTK reference network.

This research discusses the use of GIS as an advanced tool to study efficient approaches for designing and operating the Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) RTK reference network in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. GIS functionality is mainly used for manipulating, analyzing, evaluating and presenting the results of different design and implementation approaches.

The main design aspects that are considered include: reference station locations, their distribution and separating distances, station site selection and the communication methods. Recommendations concerning the selection of the most appropriate options for designing and operating the system are given.

As a result of the study, to ensure precision and reliability, it is proven that station distribution and selection can be best based on service demand while maintaining the user buffer of a radius of 35-50 km from the nearest reference station.

Finally, some of the applications that can be integrated with the RTK reference network are explored and analyzed. Focus is made on the integration with Machine Control & Automation due to the benefits of providing increased production and efficiency to many phases of the construction projects.