Absolute Positioning Using the Earth's Magnetic Anomaly Field

Aaron J. Canciani, John F. Raquet

Peer Reviewed

Abstract: Achieving worldwide dependable alternatives to GPS is a challenging engineering problem. Current GPS alternatives often suffer from limitations such as where and when the systems can operate. Navigation using the Earth’s magnetic anomaly field, which is globally available at all times, shows promise to overcome many of these limitations. We present a navigation framework which uses the Earth’s magnetic anomaly field as a navigation signal to aid an inertial navigation system (INS) in an aircraft. The filter utilizes ultra-accurate optically pumped cesium (OPC) magnetometers to make scalar intensity measurements of the Earth’s magnetic field and compare them to a map using a particle filter approach. The accuracy of these measurements allows observability of not only the INS errors, but also the temporal effects of the Earth’s magnetic field which corrupt the navigation signal. These temporal effects are thoroughly analyzed and we present a simple model which allows near worldwide use of the navigation filter. We analyze the dependencies on altitude and magnetic storm activity in a realistic simulation using data from test flights and magnetic observatories.
Published in: Proceedings of the 2015 International Technical Meeting of The Institute of Navigation
January 26 - 28, 2015
Laguna Cliffs Marriott
Dana Point, California
Pages: 265 - 278
Cite this article: Updated citation: Published in NAVIGATION: Journal of the Institute of Navigation
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