My car has it, nowadays every smartphone has it. But what's actually the math behind GPS (GLONASS) technique?

I vaguely know that there is some nonlinear system of equations that needs to be solved to get the 3 coordinates of your location. But what are the details and how is the computation efficiently done (in hard or software)?

Not sure what the result of this project will be. It could be some kind of paper or wiki page to summarize what I've found, a program illustrating different computational approaches to solve the underlying problem or even an Android app to make use of some hardware for GPS.

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Hack Week 13


  • over 3 years ago: wawiv74 joined Understanding GPS internals
  • over 3 years ago: dwaas liked Understanding GPS internals
  • over 3 years ago: okurz liked Understanding GPS internals
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    • abergmann
      over 3 years ago by abergmann | Reply

      There are also projects using a cheap DVB-T USB stick as a SDR to receive GPS data with GNU Radio. Maybe it's worth a look. ;-)

    • mfeilner
      over 3 years ago by mfeilner | Reply

      I once wrote a basic article for Linux-Magazin on exactly that topic...

    • mkoutny
      over 3 years ago by mkoutny | Reply

      I really enjoyed this course on Coursera. The assessment tests are unfortunately very easy/little covering, however, the course itself tries to explain it quite well -- for instance you get to know how to linearize those equations and it's also good portion of signal processing.

    • okurz
      over 3 years ago by okurz | Reply

      In my previous job I actually worked on developing and building GNSS receiver hardware and software. You are welcome to ask me about more in-depth stuff I might provide :-) A nice overview page and good documentation covering the topic how GPS and GNSS works is available on

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