** Progress in Earth and Planetary Science is the official journal of the Japan Geoscience Union, published in collaboration with its 50 society members.

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    Solid earth sciences

    Assessment of directional accuracy of GNSS-Acoustic measurement using a slackly moored buoy

    Imano M, Kido M, Honsho C, Ohta Y, Takahashi N, Fukuda T, Ochi H, Hino R

    Seafloor geodesy, GNSS-Acoustic, Moored buoy, Dilution of Precision, Nankai Trough

    Relationship between HDOP and positioning accuracy (2σ) of GNSS-A measurement.

    We assessed the positioning accuracy of GNSS-Acoustic (GNSS-A) measurement using a slackly moored buoy. A key feature of real-time buoy-based GNSS-A measurement is that positioning must be performed via single ranging from an arbitrary observation position and encompassing the drifting range of the buoy. In this study, slack-line mooring was employed to resist strong Kuroshio current of up to 5.5 knots in the Nankai Trough. During a year-long sea trial, the buoy drifted within a circle of ~ 4000 m radius, which is much larger than the dimension of a seafloor transponder array. In the sea trial, more than 500 successful regular and on-demand ranging measurements were obtained at various observation positions. The results show that the horizontal positioning accuracy (2σ) of the array for single ranging was 46 cm when the buoy was inside the array and 97 cm when it was outside the array. These accuracies are comparable to those achieved through single ranging in traditional ship-based surveys at the same site. In addition to the distance dependency, we observed directivity in the accuracy, depending on the geometry between an observation point and seafloor transponders. To interpret the accuracy degradation and directivity as a function of observation position, we calculated error ellipses using a dilution-of-precision (DOP) analysis procedure for GNSS-A positioning. The error ellipses clearly illustrate that the variance in array positions is large in the line-of-sight direction from an observation point to the array center. We translated the error ellipses to positioning accuracies using the standard deviation of travel time residuals when an array position is estimated using all pings. The positioning accuracy resulting from the translation corresponded to that obtained using array positions in a buoy observation. The DOP analysis results and their translation into positioning accuracies enabled a detailed assessment of the directional accuracy of GNSS-A positioning at an arbitrary observation position, which is important for real-time measurement of seafloor movement in the event of a huge earthquake.