National Positioning Infrastructure

Positioning technology through Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) has revolutionised our ability to access positioning information at the touch of a button. From smartphones to autonomous vehicles, positioning delivers value to users through increased productivity, safety and innovation. Our efforts aim to maximise this value to the nation by enabling exceptional accuracy and reliability from a new generation of positioning systems.

Figure 1. Satellite positioning services such as GPS provide accuracy to within 5 metres which is suitable for some, but not all applications.

Figure 1. Satellite positioning services such as GPS provide accuracy to within 5 metres which is suitable for some, but not all applications.

National Positioning Infrastructure project

Geoscience Australia received $64 million in the 2018-19 Federal Budget to upgrade Australia's ground GNSS network through the National Positioning Infrastructure (NPI) project. The project will establish the necessary ground infrastructure to enable data from global networks of satellites to be tracked, verified and optimised for precise positioning across Australia. NPI will deliver instant, reliable and accurate access to positioning and timing information anytime and anywhere across Australia.

National coordination across government and industry is vital to maximising value from current and future positioning investment. There are productivity benefits to be gained from greater accuracy of positioning information by building upon the hundreds, possibly thousands of ground stations that have been installed across Australia by private industry, federal, state, territory and local governments. Development of a national network through coordination of current infrastructure along with investment in new infrastructure will reduce coverage gaps in regional and remote communities and avoid unnecessary duplication.

Australia stands to benefit significantly through early adoption and innovative capability development. Investing strategically in the location and capability of ground infrastructure will significantly reduce national barriers to precise positioning. It will also create opportunities for Australian business.

The national positioning infrastructure project will establish additional ground stations and augment GNSS signals to deliver high accuracy positioning. This will ensure nationally consistent and accurate positioning of 3 centimetres can be provided across Australia in areas with mobile coverage. The project will achieve this by:

  • building new GNSS ground stations and integrating existing stations to enable multiple GNSS signals to be received for precise positioning across Australia.
  • establishing a GNSS data analytics capability to verify and correct the positioning signals for the user. This will ensure Australian industry has access to world-leading software tools for positioning.
  • engaging existing and new industries and service providers to raise awareness of the opportunities positioning opens up for businesses through increased productivity, safety and innovation.

Figure 2. The cumulative distribution of global core revenue (value of GNSS chipsets) projected by the European GNSS Agency (GSA, 2015) for the period 2013 - 2023.

Figure 2. The NPI consists of the ground infrastructure to enhance accuracy to 3 centimetres by utilising signals from global navigation satellites and the mobile phone network across Australia.

Geoscience Australia will complete this project over the coming four years.

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