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Australian government investing $12 million to test Satellite Based Augmentation Systems

The Australian Government will invest $12 million in a two-year program to test instant, accurate and reliable positioning technology that could provide future safety, productivity, efficiency and environmental benefits across many industries in Australia, including transport, agriculture, construction, and resources.

The technology under consideration is Satellite Based Augmentation Systems (SBAS) and its future applications for all four major modes of transport in Australia, aviation, maritime, rail and road, will be tested.

SBAS utilises space-based and ground-based infrastructure to improve the accuracy, integrity and availability of basic Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) signals, such as those currently provided by the Global Positioning System (GPS). SBAS already developed internationally include WAAS in the United States and EGNOS in Europe.

Through this project, Australia joins USA, Europe, Russia, India and Japan, as countries who have invested in infrastructure that delivers satellite-based corrections via an SBAS.

SBAS is expected to overcome the current gaps in mobile and radio communications and can improve positioning accuracy in Australia to less than 5 centimetres from the current accuracy of 5 to 10 metres.

Geoscience Australia is working with the Cooperative Research Centre for Spatial Information on a test-bed project for SBAS. The project is funded through the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science, and Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development. In early 2017, Geoscience Australia will call for organisations from the aviation, road, rail, maritime, spatial, construction, mining, utilities and agriculture sectors to participate in the test-bed.

The media release points out that positioning technology is part of our daily lives now, from navigation using Google Maps on smartphone to emergency management and farming. It quotes a potential figure of $73 billion that can be gained by Australia by 2030 based on the wide-spread adoption of improved positioning technology.

A joint statement was issued by the Federal Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, Darren Chester and the Minister for Resources and Northern Australia, Matt Canavan. Minister Chester spoke about the potential use of positioning data in maritime navigation, automated train management systems and driverless and connected cars. Senator Canavan highlighted the importance of this technology in agriculture and mining and how it could drive growth in Northern Australia. It could provide access to more accurate data about the Australian landscape and help government make informed decisions about future investments.

Read the media release here.

Learn more about SBAS here.

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