Absolute distance determination in the open air with an uncertainty of a few tenths of a millimetre is increasingly required in many applications that involve high precision geodetic metrology. No matter the technique used to measure, the resulting distances must be proven consistent with the unit of length (SI-metre) as realized in the outdoor facilities traditionally used in length metrology, which are also known as calibration baselines of reference. The current calibration baselines of reference have distances in the range of 10 to 1000 m, but at present there is no solution on the market to provide distances with submillimetric precision in that range. Consequently, new techniques such as multi-wave interferometry, two-wave laser telemeters or laser trackers are being developed. A possible alternative to those sophisticated and expensive techniques is the use of widely used Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) in order to provide a GNSS-Based Distance Meter (GBDM). The use of a GBDM as a potential technique for length metrology has been thoroughly analysed in several European research projects by using the state-of-the-art geodetic software, such as Bernese 5.2, but no definite conclusions have been drawn and some metrological questions are considered still open. In this paper, we describe a dedicated approach to build up a submillimetric GBDM able to be applied in the current calibration baselines of reference, as well as possible methods to cope with the multipath error of the GNSS signals which is the major limitation for the practical uptaking of the technique in metrology. The accuracy of the proposed approach has been tested following the length metrology standards in four experiments carried out in the Universitat Politècnica de València (UPV). The results demonstrate that the proposed GBDM can provide an accuracy of a few tenths of a millimetre in the current calibration baselines of reference.
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