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1. US6336081 - Geomagnetic field direction measuring system

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[ EN ]


      This application is the national stage application of PCT/EP98/00489, filed Jan. 30, 1998, which is entitled to priority of German Application No. 197 04 956.7, filed Feb. 10, 1997.


      1. Field of the Invention
      The invention relates to an arrangement and a method for measuring the direction of the geomagnetic field {right arrow over (B)}E in the proximity of a magnetic jamming device with a magnetic field of direction which can be varied as a function of time.
      2. Description of the Related Art
      The direction of the geomagnetic field serves in many applications as a reference for orientation and navigation on and above the Earth's surface. The reference quantity is the direction of magnetic North, which is defined as the direction of the horizontal component of the geomagnetic field. A magnetic field measuring device DMC (Digital Magnetic Compass) developed by Leica AG, Heerbrugg, Switzerland, determines this component from the measurement of the magnetic field components in three dimensions in space and from the measurement of the horizontal position.
      When the compass is installed in an electrical device, the measurement of the geomagnetic field is generally falsified by magnetic fields generated by magnetic parts of the device or current-carrying conductors. As long as these jamming devices are constant or variable only slowly as a function of time, they can be compensated by single calibration procedures or calibration procedures to be carried out over relatively large distances.
      Thus, U.S. Pat. No. 4,539,760 discloses a method in which a vehicle equipped with a magnetic sensor system is brought in succession into different, predetermined orientations in space. A 3-D correction matrix for compensating magnetic interference is derived from position-dependent measured values. The method assumes interference which is constant as a function of time.
      DE 38 33 798 A1 discloses a method for determining the interference effect of consumers which can be switched on and off on navigation systems. When consumers are switched off, a two-dimensional local curve of the geomagnetic field is first determined by turning the vehicle, the midpoint of which geomagnetic field is displaced by the vector of the magnetically hard interfering field present at the magnetic field sensor. Thereafter, with the vehicle stationary, the magnitude of the interfering effect of successively switched on consumers is determined and is used for correction when limits are exceeded. It is assumed that the interfering fields determined in the switched-on state always emit the same magnetically hard field. It is also necessary to know the instantaneous switching state of the jamming device.
      If, however, the interference is rapidly variable, the known methods for compensating interfering fields cannot be used. A typical example of this is a device which contains a magnet which is mounted at a fixed point but is freely movable in all directions at this location, for example by means of a cardan suspension. Another example would be a coil through which a variable current flows.


      An embodiment of the present invention is directed toward providing an arrangement and a method by means of which such a magnetic interference source variable as rapidly as desired can be eliminated with respect to its effect on the measurement of the direction of the geomagnetic field.
      Advantageous embodiments are evident from the features described herein.


      The measuring arrangement is shown schematically in the drawing.


      The two magnetic field measuring devices 1 and 2 are spatially separated but arranged rigidly with respect to one another and with respect to the magnetic jamming device {right arrow over (m)}. Expediently, the measuring directions of the two measuring devices are aligned one behind the other or are aligned at least parallel to one another.
      However, this is not essential since the measured values can be converted at any time to a common direction by suitable coordinate transformation (rotation matrices).
      In any desired coordinate system, the position vectors of the jamming device and of the measuring devices are designated by {right arrow over (r0+L )},{right arrow over (r1+L )},{right arrow over (r2+L )}.
      The field of the jamming device in an unknown position and of unknown intensity is considered, according to the invention, as a magnetic dipole {right arrow over (m)}. The measuring devices 1 and 2 are expediently arranged so that the jamming device lies along an extension of the measuring direction formed by them. It should not lie on the central plane between the two measuring devices since, with a symmetrical position of the jamming device relative to the measuring devices, the measured information may mutually cancel out.
      If, in the arrangement shown and comprising two magnetic field measuring devices measuring in three coordinates, the total field {right arrow over (B1+L )} and {right arrow over (B2+L )} detected by them is measured in each case, the geomagnetic field {right arrow over (B)}E can be determined therefrom in accordance with
      {right arrow over (BE+L )}=({right arrow over (B1+L )}+{right arrow over (B2+L )})/2+P·({right arrow over (B1+L )}−{right arrow over (B2+L )})
      This evaluation procedure is based on the consideration that the field of a magnetic dipole {right arrow over (m)} at the position {right arrow over (r0+L )}can be described at the position {right arrow over (r)} by
         {right arrow over (B)}Dip({right arrow over (r)},{right arrow over (r0+L )})=P({right arrow over (r)},{right arrow over (r0+L )})·{right arrow over (m)}
         For the total magnetic field measured by the measuring devices 1 and 2 at the positions {right arrow over (r1+L )} and {right arrow over (r2+L )}, this gives
      {right arrow over (B1+L )}={right arrow over (BE+L )}+P1·{right arrow over (m)} where P1=P({right arrow over (r1+L )}, {right arrow over (r0+L )})
      {right arrow over (B2+L )}={right arrow over (BE+L )}+P2·{right arrow over (m+L )} where P2=P({right arrow over (r2+L )},{right arrow over (r0+L )})
         from which the above-mentioned evaluation procedure
      {right arrow over (BE+L )}=({right arrow over (B1+L )}+{right arrow over (B2+L )})/2+P({right arrow over (B1+L )}−{right arrow over (B2+L )}) where P=−1/2(P1+P2)(P1−P2)−1
         is derived for {right arrow over (BE+L )}.
      The position in which the dipole in question is positioned at the time and its instantaneous magnitude are unimportant. As long as the two measuring devices operate exactly synchronously, it is also unimportant as to whether the dipole rotates or otherwise changes during the measurement. All that is important is that both measuring devices are exposed to the influence of the same dipole during the total measuring time from an unchanged position relative to one another.
      Since the symmetrical matrix P depends on the positional coordinates of the jamming device and of the two measuring devices, the matrix elements can readily be determined in general from the known construction data.
      However, it is also possible to determine the matrix experimentally. For this purpose, the device which contains the variable dipole should be brought to a fixed position in which the geomagnetic field {right arrow over (BE+L )} remains constant. The magnetic disturbance variable (dipole) is brought into many states as different as possible. In each of the positions, the magnetic fields {right arrow over (B1+L )} and {right arrow over (B2+L )} are measured and are used in the above equation for the determination, which equation can then be solved by means of any desired procedure known per se for solving linear equations for the unknown matrix elements P11. . . P33 and {right arrow over (BE+L )}. Such a procedure is advantageous in particular when the system additionally contains magnetically soft materials which distort the interfering fields of the variable jamming device. The matrix P is then generally no longer symmetrical, as was assumed in the above consideration.
      The arrangement according to the invention serves primarily for permitting the correct determination, at any time, of the direction of the geomagnetic field under the influence of a dipole vector of known position. However, it is evident that it can also be used for determining a dipole vector {right arrow over (m)} with unknown position {right arrow over (r0+L )} in terms of direction and length by calculating the dipole vector {right arrow over (m)}, instead of the geomagnetic field {right arrow over (BE+L )}, from the above equations for the determination.
      The arrangement described can also be extended by providing more than two measuring devices in an analogous arrangement. Thus, additionally for a second or further jamming device of known position or, in an analogous manner to the above section, for further jamming devices of unknown position, their influence on the measurement of the geomagnetic field {right arrow over (BE+L )} can be eliminated, or accordingly their dipole vectors {right arrow over (mk+L )} or positions {right arrow over (rk+L )} in a systematic extension of the above-mentioned procedure.
      However, the synchronous measurement of all measuring devices is still essential.
      The determination of the position of the magnetized device can be carried out by means of three measuring devices while complying with the above-mentioned conditions according to the invention. A further independent equation for the determination, corresponding to the above-mentioned relationships, is coordinated with the additional measured value. The extended system of equations can be solved with the aid of procedures known per se for the numerical solution of nonlinear equations for the parameter {right arrow over (r0+L )}.