IMU (INERTIAL MEASUREMENT UNIT)

An electronic device designed to measure and record or report inertial/gravitational forces acting on it.  The types of forces are both angular (rotational) and linear, acceleration.  Highly accurate and precise three-axis gyroscopes and accelerometers, respectively, are employed for these measurements.  Magnetometers are sometimes used to enhance or provide an initial reference for the inertial components of the device.  An IMU, in spite of its precision and accuracies, is still a victim of physics.  Without supporting GPS style electronics, its data can only support absolute positioning necessary for mapping, from a few seconds to a few minutes before “drift” takes its toll on accuracy.  Its primary purpose for this application is to highly enhance extrapolation of coordinates between GPS readings.  Errors in GPS reading can also be flagged as excessive residuals from IMU derived coordinates to GPS coordinates over a short time frame.

 

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