Comparison between code and carrier phase measurement

Carrier phase measurement is more complicated than code measurement, both in terms of equipment and measurement methods. However, the measurement uncertainty in carrier  phase measurement is lower.

Comparison between code and carrier phase measurement
Code measurement Carrier phase measurement
Time required Short observation time (seconds) Short to long observation time (few seconds to hours), depending on application.
Receiver Simple GNSS receivers Advanced GNSS receivers
Measurement uncertainty (in plane) Tens of meters at absolute positioning. Meter level at relative positioning. Centimeter level at relative positioning with determination of integer phase ambiguities.
Sensitivity to signal interruption Less sensitive, as the measurement period is short. More sensitive, since the determination of ambiguitites requires uninterrupted measurement (sometimes over a long period of time).

The given values of the uncertainties refer to the GNSS survey itself in an open surveying environment under good measurement conditions and are expected to cover at least 95% of the cases. However, the final uncertainty of the measured position may be higher as it is also affected by the local environment and your handling and execution of the measurements.

More detailed descriptions of the measurement technique for each method can be found on the pages about code measurement and carrier phase measurement.

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