**Dilution of precision** (**DOP**), or **geometric dilution of precision** (**GDOP**), is a term used in satellite navigation and geomatics engineering to specify the error propagation as a mathematical effect of navigation satellite geometry on positional measurement precision.

The concept of dilution of precision (DOP) originated with users of the Loran-C navigation system.[1] The idea of Geometric DOP is to state how errors in the measurement will affect the final state estimation. This can be defined as:[2]

Conceptually you can geometrically imagine errors on a measurement resulting in the Δ ( M e a s u r e d D a t a ) {\displaystyle \Delta ({\rm {Measured\ Data}})} term changing. Ideally small changes in the measured data will not result in large changes in output location. The opposite of this ideal is the situation where the solution is very sensitive to measurement errors. The interpretation of this formula is shown in the figure to the right, showing two possible scenarios with acceptable and poor GDOP.

More recently, the term has come into much wider usage with the development and adoption of GPS. Neglecting ionospheric [3] and tropospheric[4] effects, the signal from navigation satellites has a fixed precision. Therefore, the relative satellite-receiver geometry plays a major role in determining the precision of estimated positions and times. Due to the relative geometry of any given satellite to a receiver, the precision in the pseudorange of the satellite translates to a corresponding component in each of the four dimensions of position measured by the receiver (i.e., x {\displaystyle x} , y {\displaystyle y} , z {\displaystyle z} , and t {\displaystyle t} ). The precision of multiple satellites in view of a receiver combine according to the relative position of the satellites to determine the level of precision in each dimension of the receiver measurement. When visible navigation satellites are close together in the sky, the geometry is said to be weak and the DOP value is high; when far apart, the geometry is strong and the DOP value is low. Consider two overlapping rings, or annuli, of different centres. If they overlap at right angles, the greatest extent of the overlap is much smaller than if they overlap in near parallel. Thus a low DOP value represents a better positional precision due to the wider angular separation between the satellites used to calculate a unit's position. Other factors that can increase the effective DOP are obstructions such as nearby mountains or buildings.