$1.5b benefits from super accurate positioning

Augmentation of GPS positioning to make it super-accurate could deliver benefits worth $1.5b to the New Zealand economy over 30 years, according to a report of joint New Zealand/Australia trials of the technology.

The Satellite based Augmentation System (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 which computes correctional information that is then relayed via geostationary satellite to individual GPS users to increase the accuracy of their GPS-derived position.

SBAS has been trialled in multiple applications across Australia and New Zealand under a joint project between Land Information New Zealand (LINZ) and Geoscience Australia (GA), announced in February 2017. Details of the first New Zealand projects were revealed in November 2017.

In the most recent budget LINZ received $2m funding to continue work with GA and investigate ways to fully deliver SBAS to the region.

Announcing release of the reports of the trial LINZ said: “SBAS test-bed projects in the agriculture sector demonstrated the largest potential economic benefit to New Zealand of any sector, with a forecast $837m over 30 years. Other sectors forecast to benefit based on applications tested in the trial include road $194m, aviation $128m and construction $174m.

It added: “The economic benefits identified are regarded as conservative as they only look at ‘microeconomic’ benefits – that is those arising from the trials of specific SBAS applications within an industry sector.

“Similarly, the way economic benefits were measured does not take account of the flow-on benefits. For example, reduced carbon emissions that arise from money-saving fuel efficiencies. The trial also showed general benefits including improved GPS accuracy (from 5-10 metres to one metre or less), improved signal integrity, and reduced commercial costs and infrastructure investment.”

Three reports of the trials totalling some 450 pages have been released by Australian company FrontierSI (formerly the Co-operative Research Centre for Spatial Information).

SBAS Test-bed Demonstrator Trial Economic Benefits Report: which provides an assessment of the economic benefits of Satellite-Based Augmented Systems across Australia and New Zealand.

SBAS Test-bed Project Report: provides detail on the technology, signals, completed projects, equipment and environment tested as well as the main challenges, findings and recommendations.

SBAS Test-bed Technical Report: details performance results from a testing campaign of the SBAS services by FrontierSI.

Copyright © 2019 IDG Communications, Inc.

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