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Dilution of precision (DOP), or geometric dilution of precision (GDOP), is a term used in satellite navigation and geomatics engineering to specify the additional multiplicative effect of navigation satellite geometry on positional measurement precision. Due to the relative geometry of any given satellite to a receiver, the precision in the pseudorange of the satellite translates to a corresponding component in each of the four dimensions of position measured by the receiver (i.e., x, y, z, and t). The precision of multiple satellites in view of a receiver combine according to the relative position of the satellites to determine the level of precision in each dimension of the receiver measurement. When visible navigation satellites are close together in the sky, the geometry is said to be weak and the DOP value is high; when far apart, the geometry is strong and the DOP value is low. Consider two overlapping rings, or annuli, of different centres. If they overlap at right angles, the greatest extent of the overlap is much smaller than if they overlap in near parallel. Thus a low DOP value represents a better positional precision due to the wider angular separation between the satellites used to calculate a unit's position. Other factors that can increase the effective DOP are obstructions such as nearby mountains or buildings. DOP can be expressed as a number of separate measurements. HDOP, VDOP, PDOP, and TDOP are respectively Horizontal, Vertical, Position (3D), and Time Dilution of Precision.
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