Govt pledges $2m to improve GPS accuracy

Land Information New Zealand (LINZ) has revealed the recent Budget set aside almost $2m to support the development of a regional satellite-based augmentation system (SBAS) to significantly improve GPS accuracy.

The funding, $1.992m, will be used to support to work with LINZ’s Australian counterpart, Geoscience Australia to investigate ways to deliver SBAS following a two-year joint trial, announced in February 2017. Details of the trials were announced by LINZ in November 2017

LINZ said the funding would allow it and Geoscience Australia to jointly develop specifications and undertake initial procurement processes.

“Once a preferred provider for delivering SBAS has been identified, approval to release further funding will be sought to implement a regional SBAS,” it said.

SBAS uses a continent-wide network of fixed GPS or other satnav system receivers that are able to measure the error in the GPS position. This error information is relayed to a central processing centre that computes correctional information, which is then relayed via geostationary satellite to individual GPS users to increase the accuracy of their GPS-derived position.

LINZ national geodesist Matt Amos said SBAS would improve GPS’s positioning information accuracy of 5-10 metres to less than a metre, and in some devices to 10 centimetres.

“This data is fundamental to a range of applications and businesses worldwide. It increases our productivity, secures our safety and propels innovation.”

Minister for Land Information, Eugenie Sage, said SBAS, when fully implemented, would result in $1.47 billion worth of economic benefits to the New Zealand economy.

LINZ said examples of SBAS applications included:

• accurate vertical guidance for landing procedures for rescue helicopters enabling them to reach patients in difficult terrain more quickly and in more challenging weather conditions such as low cloud;

• virtual fencing where livestock in the future may wear GPS-enabled collars to stop them going where they are not supposed to – replacing some physical fences, keeping livestock out of waterways, and making grazing more efficient;

• workplace health and safety, particularly in the forestry sector, where more accurate GPS can alert workers using equipment to other people in the area.

The funding, $1.992m, will be used to support to work with LINZ’s Australian counterpart, Geoscience Australia to investigate ways to deliver SBAS following a two-year joint trial, announced in February 2017. Details of the trials were announced by LINZ in November 2017

LINZ said the funding would allow it and Geoscience Australia to jointly develop specifications and undertake initial procurement processes.

“Once a preferred provider for delivering SBAS has been identified, approval to release further funding will be sought to implement a regional SBAS,” it said.

SBAS uses a continent-wide network of fixed GPS or other satnav system receivers that are able to measure the error in the GPS position. This error information is relayed to a central processing centre that computes correctional information, which is then relayed via geostationary satellite to individual GPS users to increase the accuracy of their GPS-derived position.

LINZ national geodesist Matt Amos said SBAS would improve GPS’s positioning information accuracy of 5-10 metres to less than a metre, and in some devices to 10 centimetres.

“This data is fundamental to a range of applications and businesses worldwide. It increases our productivity, secures our safety and propels innovation.”

Minister for Land Information, Eugenie Sage, said SBAS, when fully implemented, would result in $1.47 billion worth of economic benefits to the New Zealand economy.

LINZ said examples of SBAS applications included:

• accurate vertical guidance for landing procedures for rescue helicopters enabling them to reach patients in difficult terrain more quickly and in more challenging weather conditions such as low cloud;

• virtual fencing where livestock in the future may wear GPS-enabled collars to stop them going where they are not supposed to – replacing some physical fences, keeping livestock out of waterways, and making grazing more efficient;

• workplace health and safety, particularly in the forestry sector, where more accurate GPS can alert workers using equipment to other people in the area.

Copyright © 2019 IDG Communications, Inc.

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