Methodologies are proposed for combining carrier-phase differential GPS (CDGPS), visual simultaneous localization and mapping (SLAM), and inertial measurements to obtain precise and globally-referenced position and attitude estimates of a rigid structure connecting a GPS receiver, a camera, and an inertial measurement unit (IMU). As part of developing these methodologies, observability of globally-referenced attitude based solely on GPS-based position estimates and visual feature measurements is proven. Determination of attitude in this manner eliminates the need for attitude estimates based on magnetometer and accelerometer measurements, which are notoriously susceptible to magnetic disturbances. This combination of navigation techniques, if coupled properly, is capable of attaining centimeter-level or better absolute positioning and degree-level or better absolute attitude accuracies in any space, both indoors and out. Such a navigation system is ideally suited for application to augmented reality (AR), which often employs a GPS receiver, a cam- era, and an IMU, and would result in tight registration of virtual elements to the real world. A prototype AR system is presented that represents a first step towards v coupling CDGPS, visual SLAM, and inertial navigation. While this prototype AR system does not couple CDGPS and visual SLAM tightly enough to obtain some of the benefit of the proposed methodologies, the system is capable of demonstrating an upper bound on the precision that such a combination of navigation techniques could attain. Test results for the prototype AR system are presented for a dynamic scenario that demonstrate sub-centimeter-level positioning precision and sub-degree-level attitude precision. This level of precision would enable convincing augmented visuals.

Cite and download the thesis:
D. Shepard, "Fusion of Carrier-Phase Differential GPS, Bundle-Adjustment-Based Visual SLAM, and Inertial Navigation for Precisely and Globally-Registered Augmented Reality," UT Masters Thesis, 2013.