Joint Australia NZ research project to improve GPS accuracy

PEL710 Joint Australia NZ research project to improve GPS accuracy

Position fixing could become much more precise than the several metres accuracy provided by the Global Positioning System (GPS) satellites if a two year trial of Satellite Based Augmentation Systems (SBAS) being undertaken with the backing of the Australian and New Zealand Governments proves successful.

SBAS uses a continent-wide network of fixed GPS or other satnav system receivers in locations that are known with great accuracy. These are able to measure the error in the GPS position and communicate that to a central processing centre.Correctional information is computed and relayed via geostationary satellite to individual GPS users to increase the accuracy of their GPS-derived position.

New Zealand’s minister for economic development and minister of transport, Simon Bridges, said SBAS was expected to improve air navigation, smartphone-based services, asset management and precision agriculture, and would be needed for the deployment of connected and autonomous vehicles.

“This is a world-leading trial that will allow us to investigate how New Zealand might benefit from the added precision SBAS adds to current and future global navigation satellite systems such as the widely used Global Positioning System (GPS),” he said.

“While current GPS locations are accurate to within 5 to 10 metres, the SBAS test-bed could improve positioning to within as little as 10 centimetres. This means that a vehicle will recognise the road it is travelling on, but also which lane it is in, and its distance from surrounding objects.”

Geoscience Australia is working with the Cooperative Research Centre for Spatial Information to evaluate the effectiveness of an SBAS for Australia, and build expertise within Government and industry on its transformative benefits.

Satellite communications for the project is being provided by global satellite network operator, Inmarsat. It has dedicated a transponder on its L-band Asia Pacific region satellite, Inmarsat-4 F1 to provide the satellite link that will communicate the correction information to individual GPS receivers.

According to Inmarsat, a number of other organisations are contributing to the project. “Lockheed Martin will provide systems integration expertise, along with the radio frequency uplink station and GMV (Spain), one of the leading suppliers of satellite ground segment equipment will be responsible for the provision of magicSBAS - a state-of-the-art, multi-constellation, operational SBAS -processors to generate the GNSS augmentation message,” Inmarsat said.

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