24 June 2019

Budget 2019 funding has been set aside to support the development of a regional satellite-based augmentation system (SBAS) to significantly improve GPS accuracy.

Nearly $2m ($1.992m) will be used to support Land Information New Zealand (LINZ) to work with its Australian counterpart, Geoscience Australia to investigate ways to deliver SBAS following a two-year trial.

“This technology will significantly improve positioning information,” says Matt Amos, LINZ National Geodesist.

“GPS usually provides positioning information accurate to about 5-10 metres. This new system will improve the accuracy 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.”

Diagram showing satellites and various technology and how SBAS system works
Image source: Geoscience Australia

Examples of SBAS applications include:

  • accurate vertical guidance for landing procedures for rescue helicopters, meaning they can 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

This funding will allow LINZ 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.

Read more about the SBAS project.

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