Most important NMEA sentence is GPGGA

GGA – essential fix data which provide 3D location and accuracy data.


GGA Global Positioning System Fix Data
123519 Fix taken at 12:35:19 UTC
4807.038,N Latitude 48 deg 07.038′ N
01131.000,E Longitude 11 deg 31.000′ E
1 Fix quality: 0 = invalid
1 = GPS fix (SPS)
2 = DGPS fix
3 = PPS fix
4 = Real Time Kinematic
5 = Float RTK
6 = estimated (dead reckoning) (2.3 feature)
7 = Manual input mode
8 = Simulation mode
08 Number of satellites being tracked
0.9 Horizontal dilution of position
545.4,M Altitude, Meters, above mean sea level
46.9,M Height of geoid (mean sea level) above WGS84
(empty field) time in seconds since last DGPS update
(empty field) DGPS station ID number
*47 the checksum data, always begins with *
If the height of geoid is missing then the altitude should be suspect. Some non-standard implementations report altitude with respect to the ellipsoid rather than geoid altitude. Some units do not report negative altitudes at all. This is the only sentence that reports altitude.