EGU General Assembly 2020
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Low-cost, high accuracy Global Navigation Satellite System positioning for understanding floods

Hessel Winsemius1,2, Andreas Krietemeyer1, Kirsten Van Dongen1, Ivan Gayton3, Frank Annor1,4, Christiaan Tiberius1, Marie-Claire Ten Veldhuis1, Hubert Samboko1, Rolf Hut1, and Nick Van de Giesen1,4
Hessel Winsemius et al.
  • 1TU Delft, Faculty of Civil Engineering and Geosciences, Water Resources Management, Delft, Netherlands (
  • 2Deltares, Delft, Netherlands
  • 3Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team, Washington D.C., United States
  • 4Trans-African Hydrometeorological Observatory

Detailed elevation is a prerequisite for many hydrological applications. To name a few, understanding of urban and rural flood hazard and risk; understanding floodplain geometries and conveyance; and monitoring morphological changes. The accuracy of traditional Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) chipsets in smart phones is typically in the order of several meters, too low to be useful for such applications. Structure from Motion photogrammetry methods or Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR), may be used to establish 3D point clouds from drone photos or lidar instrumentation, but even these require very accurate Ground Control Point (GCP) observations for a satisfactory result. These can be acquired through specialised GNSS rover equipment, combined with a multi-frequency GNSS base station or base station network, providing a Real-Time (RTK) or Post-Processing Kinematics (PPK) solution. These techniques are too expensive and too difficult to maintain for use within low resource settings and are usually deployed by experts or specialised firms.

Here we investigate if accurate positioning (horizontal and vertical) can be acquired using a very recently released low-cost multi-constellation dual-frequency receiver (ublox ZED-F9P), connected with a simple antenna and a smart phone. The setup is remarkably small and easy to carry into the field. Using a geodetic (high-grade) GNSS antenna and receiver as base station, initial results over baselines in the order of a few km with the low-cost receiver revealed a positioning performance in the centimeter domain. Currently, we are testing the solution using a smart phone setup as base station within Dar es Salaam, to improve elevation mapping within the community mapping project “Ramani Huria”. We will also test the equipment for use in GCP observations within the ZAMSECUR project in Zambia and TWIGA project in Ghana. This new technology opens doors to affordable and robust observations of positions and elevation in low resource settings.

How to cite: Winsemius, H., Krietemeyer, A., Van Dongen, K., Gayton, I., Annor, F., Tiberius, C., Ten Veldhuis, M.-C., Samboko, H., Hut, R., and Van de Giesen, N.: Low-cost, high accuracy Global Navigation Satellite System positioning for understanding floods, EGU General Assembly 2020, Online, 4–8 May 2020, EGU2020-8446,, 2020