Satellite-Based Augmentation System

Geoscience Australia in collaboration with Land Information New Zealand is working to offer precise positioning through a Satellite Based Augmentation System (SBAS) called the Southern Positioning Augmentation Network, or SouthPAN. Australia and New Zealand have entered into a partnership to jointly deliver SouthPAN across both countries and their maritime zones. SouthPAN will be the first SBAS in the Southern Hemisphere.

Precise positioning from SouthPAN will offer accuracy at the 10 cm level: a significant improvement on current accuracy of 5–10 metres. SouthPAN will provide augmented and corrected satellite navigation signals directly from the satellite rather than through a mobile phone or internet signal. This means that those in regional and remote areas and offshore will particularly benefit, as 10 cm-level accuracy will be available everywhere, overcoming current gaps in mobile and radio communications.

The procurement phase for SouthPAN is currently underway.

SouthPAN is currently seeking Expressions of Internet (EOI) to host SBAS Ground Stations.

How to get access

Many positioning-capable consumer devices already have SBAS-ready hardware and electronic chips. Geoscience Australia will provide technical expertise, liaison with Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs), universities, industry and government to ensure users can benefit from SouthPAN’s precise positioning as soon as it is available.

SouthPAN will provide early services before the system is safety-of-life certified. This will allow most users and equipment providers to use SouthPAN prior to certification.

The benefits of SouthPAN

A trial of accurate positioning technology, known as the SBAS test-bed project, ran from 2017 to 2019 and assessed the economic, social and environmental benefits of improved positioning technology through a range of projects. The SBAS Test-bed included 27 demonstrator projects across ten industry sectors including agriculture, aviation, construction, consumer, resources, road, rail, maritime, mining and utilities. You can read about the test-bed project and uses of SBAS on the Industry uses and case studies page.

Following the test-bed, EY produced an independent economic benefits analysis of the program. This analysis found that accurate and reliable SBAS positioning has an expected value of $7.6 billion over 30 years for Australia and New Zealand, based on the tested applications.

About the SouthPAN program

$160.9 million of the Australian Government investment in the Positioning Australia program is to fund the development of SouthPAN. The purpose of the program is to deliver a national capability that accelerates the adoption and development of location-based technology and applications.

SouthPAN will see Australia and New Zealand join countries such as the United States, Europe, Russia, India and Japan, which have all invested in capabilities that deliver satellite-based corrections via an SBAS. It will also support the aviation, maritime and road transport sectors in meeting requirements for high-integrity positioning-guaranteed performance with sub-metre level accuracy.

How it works

A SBAS operates through the deployment of a series of reference stations monitoring signals broadcast by Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) satellites, and compares the station’s known location with the position data from the satellites.

The GNSS signal data and measurement information is then transmitted to a Central Processing Facility. This facility produces error corrections and status information about the GNSS satellites as a series of messages. These messages are sent to an uplink station, which transmits the data to a geostationary satellite. This data is then re-broadcast as an augmentation of the GNSS satellites to all precise positioning users.

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SouthPAN will offer 10 cm level positioning across Australia and New Zealand