Dynamic displacement measurement accuracy of GPS for monitoring large civil engineering structures

W. S. Chan, You Lin Xu, Xiaoli Ding, Y. L. Xiong, W. J. Dai

Research output: Journal article publicationConference articleAcademic researchpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Accelerometer and displacement transducer are two common sensors used for structural displacement measurement. Due to their incapability of measuring static deflection of a structure, Global Positioning System (GPS) is developed as a novel sensor for measuring and monitoring both static and dynamic displacement responses of large civil engineering structures under gust winds. However, the accuracy of dynamic displacement measurement with GPS at the sub-centimeter to millimeter level depends on many factors such as required data update rate, satellite coverage, atmospheric effect, multi-path effect, and GPS data processing methods. Therefore, this paper focuses on the assessment of dynamic displacement measurement accuracy of GPS in two orthogonal directions. A 2-D motion simulation table is first developed as a test bed simulating various types of two perpendicular translational motions of tall buildings. The 2-D motion simulation table was then used to assess the performance of GPS through a series of field measurements in an open area. A band-pass filtering scheme is finally designed and applied to the table motion data recorded by the GPS. The comparison of the table motion recorded by the GPS with the original motion generated by the table shows that the GPS can measure sinusoidal or circular dynamic displacements accurately within certain amplitude and frequency ranges. The comparative results also demonstrate that the GPS can trace wind-induced dynamic responses of tall buildings satisfactorily.
Original languageEnglish
Article number08
Pages (from-to)54-65
Number of pages12
JournalProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
Issue numberPART 1
Publication statusPublished - 29 Sept 2005
EventSmart Structures and Materials 2005 - Sensors and Smart Structures Technologies for Civil, Mechanical, and Aerospace Systems - San Diego, CA, United States
Duration: 7 Mar 200510 Mar 2005


  • Assessment
  • Dynamic measurement accuracy
  • GPS
  • Motion simulation table

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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