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SouthPAN (Southern Positioning Augmentation Network) will improve the accuracy and reliability of satellite-based positioning systems in Australasia.

infographic showing how SouthPAN works

SouthPAN is a partnership between LINZ and Geoscience Australia under the Australia New Zealand Science, Research and Innovation Cooperation Agreement (ANZSRICA).    

SouthPAN will augment satellite positioning services to improve the accuracy and reliability of existing global navigation satellite systems (GNSS). It will improve accuracy for devices capable of receiving a satellite-based positioning signal, unlocking significant benefits for Australasia.  

A platform for innovation 

Originally developed to support aviation safety, this technology has wide-ranging potential uses, from crop management to tracking maritime shipments and enabling navigation for drones and other unmanned vehicles.  

Read the joint Australia and New Zealand SouthPAN ministerial media release 

The quantified benefits of SouthPAN are estimated at $864m over 20 years. This value will increase as new applications are developed. 

Read the EY economic benefits report from the SBAS test-bed trial

image of a satellite above the earth

The Inmarsat 4F1 satellite will be used to provide SouthPANservices until its replacement with two new satellites (Credit: Inmarsat)

How SouthPAN works 

The technology behind SouthPAN boosts the accuracy of existing satellite positioning systems. It uses a network of ground stations to calculate and correct errors.

SouthPAN includes:

  • a network of Global Navigation Satellite System reference stations; 
  • two SBAS-capable payloads on industry-owned satellites; and 
  • two ground-based satellite uplink stations. 

SouthPAN compares satellite data against precisely measured positions to identify and correct discrepancies. These corrections are sent to geostationary satellites and then broadcast throughout Australasia. This significantly improves the accuracy and reliability of positioning information, meaning we can pinpoint a location to as little as ten centimetres. 

Test-bed trial 

New Zealand and Australia have jointly explored the feasibility of SouthPAN. Between 2017 and 2019, a trial established that SouthPAN improved GPS accuracy, improved signal integrity, and reduced commercial costs. 

Read more about the test-bed trial

Better, reliable positioning data 

Once fully operational, SouthPAN will support aviation safety (known as Safety of Life certification). Domestic air travel will be safer and fewer flights will be disrupted by low visibility or bad weather conditions. Emergency flights and rescue helicopters will be able to operate in extreme weather conditions. 

Combined with other technologies, SouthPAN will support innovation: from automation on the factory floor or the farm to reduced emissions through improved and efficient navigation and enabling navigation for unmanned aerial vehicles. 

Read examples of uses for SouthPAN

Accessing SouthPAN

SouthPAN Early Open Services are available now and use existing satellite and ground infrastructure.  These services are available for applications that do not require Safety of Life Certification or a similar degree of high reliability.   

After that, we will add capability as new ground stations and satellites come online. 

These include:  

  • L1 SBAS delivered on the L1 frequency 

  • DFMC SBAS delivered on the L5 frequency 

  • PPP delivered on the L5 frequency  

These signals are similar to those used for the SBAS test-bed trial from 2018 to 2020. Service performance will improve progressively as infrastructure upgrades are deployed, offering greater resilience, reliability and redundancy.   

SouthPAN will be fully operational in 2028.  

SouthPAN service definition

View the SouthPAN services disclaimer

A map of SouthPANs initial service coverage area

A map of SouthPANs initial service coverage area

Most global navigation satellite system (GNSS) receivers on the market will receive some SouthPAN transmissions, with a smaller range of receivers able to track all transmissions.

For details on accessing Early Open Services, see the factsheet below.

If you are interested in how SouthPAN can benefit your business or organisation, please contact us at SouthPAN@linz.govt.nz

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