How SouthPAN benefits New Zealand

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.

Safer aviation and rescue services 

SouthPAN will achieve Safety of Life certification in 2028.

This certification will allow planes, helicopters, and unmanned aerial vehicles to use SouthPAN for navigation and landing. The certification process ensures SouthPAN provides integrity of signal, so users receive timely warnings about potential data issues. 

This will mean aircraft can fly safely in adverse weather conditions they cannot operate in now. Not only will this reduce the likelihood of travel disruptions (such as due to low cloud), it will enable rescue services to be faster and safer. 

Rescue helicopters 

SouthPAN data is beneficial for helicopters. The integrity of signals and the precision of vertical and horizontal positioning allow them to operate in poor weather and remote locations. 

This will mean emergency helicopter crews can make more accurate approaches, reach patients in challenging locations and weather conditions, and get people the medical treatment they need quickly. 

Virtual fencing of dairy cows

Currently, virtual fencing is only accurate to around 3 metres. Using SouthPAN, this can be improved to within half a metre.   

Improved accuracy and reliability from SouthPAN will allow farmers to manage grazing behaviour and better manage animal wellbeing. This will both improve farm productivity and increase farm revenue.  

Virtual fencing using SouthPAN will complement regular fencing, which is expensive, and can't be moved easily. Standard fences are easily damaged, particularly by flooding. In contrast, a virtual fence is flexible and can be easily updated. 

This can help keep stock away from waterways, improving freshwater quality, which is particularly important during a flood. The improved accuracy will make it possible to reduce the buffer zones needed to protect rivers and streams – so more land is productive. 

Safety on construction sites

Construction sites are busy, changeable environments with a wide range of hazards – fixed and moving. With SouthPAN's accuracy and reliable data, the construction sector will be able to create similar digital buffers to protect people, equipment and vehicles. 

The benefits of SouthPAN for construction site safety are estimated to be worth $82 million to the industry.

For example, vehicles will also be able to operate closer to each other without collisions. Virtual fencing can be used so that if a vehicle comes close to an area, a signal will prevent it from coming too close a the real-world hazard.

The precise vertical and horizontal positioning has similar potential to reduce workplace incidents in the forestry sector.

Environmental monitoring

SouthPAN's greater accuracy and reliability will support our conservation efforts and environmental goals. 

Using real-time, accurate data, the Department of Conservation will be able to track and monitor the locations of rare species and the environment around them.   

For example, rare native lizards live on rock scree slopes. The environment they live in can be changeable as rocks move or slopes get swept by avalanches. Permanent markers can get damaged or moved. Using SouthPAN-capable tools, DOC can manage and relocate lizard populations and learn more about their health and reproductive success.

Similarly, Manaaki Whenua Landcare Research can use this technology to support national soil carbon monitoring. Landcare Research monitors 500 sites every four years, and it is vital to use the exact location to ensure they resample the same soils. Physical markers are unreliable as they can be moved, hidden or damaged. With SouthPAN, it will be possible to mark these sites virtually.

Download the SouthPAN factsheet for more information.

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