Feasibility of displacement monitoring using low-cost GPS receivers

Hongki Jo, Sung Han Sim, Andrzej Tatkowski, B. F. Spencer, Mark E. Nelson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


SUMMARY Many of the available SHM approaches neither readily support displacement monitoring nor work in concert with one another to take advantage of displacement-based SHM for various long-period structures. Although survey-quality GPS technology offers the possibility of measuring such displacements with sub-centimeter precision, the associated cost is too high to allow for routine deployment. Low-cost GPS chips commonly found in mobile phones and automobile navigation equipment are attractive in terms of size, cost, and power consumption; however, the displacement accuracy of these GPS chips is on the order of several meters, which is insufficient for SHM applications. Inspired by sensory information processing strategies of weakly electric fish, this paper investigates the potential for using dense arrays of relatively low-precision GPS sensors to achieve high-precision displacement estimates. Results show that dynamic response resolution as low as 20-30 cm can be achieved and that the resolution improves with the number of sensors used.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1240-1254
Number of pages15
JournalStructural Control and Health Monitoring
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2013


  • displacement monitoring
  • GPS
  • low cost
  • structural health monitoring
  • wireless smart sensor network

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Building and Construction
  • Mechanics of Materials


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