The dynamic accuracy of a tracking total station (TTS) was evaluated using a rotary test fixture to determine the viability of using a TTS as a position reference for dynamic global navigation satellite-based system (GNSS) accuracy testing. Tests were performed at angular velocities ranging from 0 to 3.72 rad/s at a radius of 0.635 m. A technique was developed to determine the average latency of the TTS measurement serial data output. TTS measurements were interpolated at a GNSS sampling interval to provide a method for direct comparison between TTS and GNSS position measurements. The estimated latency from the TTS serial data output was shown to be consistently near 0.25 s for all angular velocities and less variable when using a reflector-based machine target versus a prism-based target. Average positional error in the TTS position measurement increased with angular velocity from 3 to 90 mm, partly due to internal filtering which caused the magnitude of the TTS position measurement to decrease under stead-state sinusoidal motion. The standard deviation of error ranged from less than 1 to 20 mm as angular velocity increased. Sight distance from the TTS to the target was shown to have very little effect on accuracy between 4 and 30 m. The TTS was determined to be an adequate benchmark for most dynamic GNSS and vehicle auto-guidance testing but is limited by relatively large position measurement errors at high angular velocities.

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Published in Applied Engineering in Agriculture, v. 30, no. 4, p. 557-563.

© 2014 American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers.

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This material is based upon work supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture under agreements 2008-34628-19532 and 2010-34628-21691. Any opinions, findings, or conclusions expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the USDA.