VRS is a shortcut for 'Virtual Reference Station'.

In the maritime context, the term "Virtual Reference Station" (VRS) typically refers to a technology used in Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) such as GPS or GLONASS to improve the accuracy of positioning data for vessels.

VRS technology works by establishing a network of reference stations on land that receive signals from GPS or GLONASS satellites and transmit correction data to vessels equipped with GNSS receivers. By using this correction data, vessels can achieve more accurate positioning than would be possible using the satellite signals alone.

Examples of VRS systems used in the maritime context include:

  • VRS Now: a subscription-based service provided by Trimble that offers high-precision GNSS correction data for marine applications
  • SmartNet: a GNSS positioning service provided by Hexagon that includes VRS technology for improved accuracy
  • StarFire: a GNSS correction service provided by NovAtel that includes VRS capabilities

VRS technology can help to improve the safety and efficiency of maritime operations by enabling vessels to more accurately navigate in challenging environments, such as narrow channels or near offshore structures. It can also be used to support a range of maritime applications, including surveying, dredging, and offshore exploration.


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