GNSS Heading Solutions

GNSS heading technology determines where an object is pointing with respect to true north on the horizontal plane (also referred to as yaw in Inertial Navigation System (INS) applications).

NovAtel's heading solutions are suited for many object pointing determination applications including:

Pointing applications

  • Satellite/communication antennas
  • Excavators/drills
  • Planes and boats

Accurate Relative Platform (relative vector determination)

  • Vehicle-to-vehicle
  • Helicopter landing
  • Automated ship docking systems


  • Real time and post-mission processed heading solutions
  • Offered in GPS or GNSS standalone systems and GPS/INS or GNSS/INS systems
  • User customizable output orientation frame
  • Output available in different formats

What We Offer


Real Time GPS or GNSS Heading Determination:

  • Two GNSS antennas generate a vector in space that has both horizontal (azimuth) and vertical (pitch or roll) components
  • Heading and pitch/roll solutions between the antennas are computed using our ALIGN® heading engine
  • ALIGN's heading accuracy is a function of the horizontal separation between the two antennas

Real Time SPAN® GPS/INS or GNSS/INS Heading Determination:

  • A SPAN system typically consists of one antenna, one GNSS receiver and also one Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU). Dual antenna SPAN GPS/INS systems are also available to enhance initialization time and long term stability of the system
  • In a SPAN system, heading (and roll and pitch) is computed using gyroscope data, accelerometer data (IMU) and GNSS data
  • Heading accuracy of a SPAN system is based on the accelerometer and gyroscope specification of the IMU being used and the type of motion encountered

Post-processed Heading Solutions:

  • Two GNSS receivers' raw code and phase data can be post-processed in our GrafMov to obtain heading measurements
  • A GNSS receiver's raw code and phase data plus IMU raw measurements can be post-processed in Inertial Explorer® to obtain roll, pitch and yaw measurements. The forward post-processed solution will be similar to the real-time SPAN system mentioned above
  • Our GrafMov or Inertial Explorer post-processing software takes advantage of both forward and backward data computations to generate the most accurate combined solution. This is especially useful for data collected under challenging GNSS environments (i.e., signal blockages, multipath, etc.)

Things to Think About


When choosing a heading solution, consider the following needs of your application:

  • Solution accuracy
  • Signal availability
  • Solution rate
  • Continuity of solution updates
  • Type of motion
  • System exportability
  • System price
  • System installation constraints
  • Real-time versus post-processed solution


SPAN® GNSS Inertial Navigation Systems

Combining GNSS receiver technology with Inertial Navigation Systems (INS) provides a superior positioning solution with 3D position, attitude (roll, pitch, yaw) and velocity. Used with commercial cards or with SAASM.


Provides high precision attitude and accurate relative positioning information between two or more receivers in dynamic land, air and marine applications


Compact, dual-antenna, Dual-Frequency GNSS Receiver Delivers Robust RTK Functionality and ALIGN® heading capability

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Rugged Enclosure Delivers Scalable GNSS with Heading and Wireless Communication Options

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Inertial Explorer®

Expands on the powerful features of GrafNav by adding support for loosely coupled and tightly coupled GNSS+INS processing