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 standard 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, as determining integer phase ambiguitites requires uninterrupted measurement (sometimes over a long period of time).

The stated measurement uncertainties refer to the GNSS measurement itself in an open measurement environment under good measurement conditions and is expected to cover at least 95% of cases. The final standard uncertainty in the measured position may be higher as it is also affected by the local environment and the user's handling and implementation 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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