Accurate positioning across Australasia

3 March 2020

Australia and New Zealand are a step closer to improving the accuracy of global positioning signals across the Australasian region.

As announced at the Australia New Zealand Leaders’ Forum last week, Australia and New Zealand have agreed to jointly fund the first Satellite-Based Augmentation System (SBAS) in the Southern Hemisphere.

The new Southern Positioning Augmentation Network will be led by Geoscience Australia and Land Information New Zealand (LINZ) under the Australia New Zealand Science, Research and Innovation Cooperation Agreement.

Geoscience Australia CEO Dr James Johnson said the Southern Positioning Augmentation Network will improve the accuracy of positioning from 5-10 metres to 10 centimetres without the need for mobile or internet coverage.

“Australia and New Zealand are working together to bring this world-leading technology to our region, joining countries such as the United States, Europe, Russia, India and Japan, which have all successfully invested in an SBAS capability,” Dr Johnson said.

“We know through an 18-month trial of SBAS in Australia and New Zealand that decimetre level accuracy will significantly improve productivity and safety in our modern world.

“The benefits of SBAS were recognised in an independent report by Ernst and Young (EY) in 2019, which showed improved positioning could provide more than seven billion dollars in economic benefits to Australia and New Zealand.”

LINZ Chief Executive Ms Gaye Searancke said Geoscience Australia and LINZ have a strong and productive working relationship on mutual interests.

“Geoscience Australia and LINZ worked together on the trial of SBAS and our relationship has continued to grow across the Tasman,” Ms Searancke said.

“This means we are confident that the Southern Positioning Augmentation Network will provide economic efficiencies and safety improvements to sectors important to both our nations, such as agriculture, construction, and transport. For example, improved precise positioning will make regional aviation safer and more efficient, which is essential to both our rugged countries.

“Our partnership will also provide a more informed region through better location-based data and mapping, shared marine data and information, and through Earth observations from space.”

It is anticipated that the Southern Positioning Augmentation Network will be operational by 2023.

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