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Major step towards accurate positioning promotes automation

Major step towards accurate positioning promotes automation across whole economy

The completion of the trial phase of the Satellite Based Augmented Positioning (SBAS) project is a breakthrough towards the use of highly accurate GPS data.

“In New Zealand, the NZSF trials focussed on the maritime sector, but the real winners will be aviation, land transport and agriculture,” says Annabel Young, Executive Director, NZ Shipping Federation (NZSF).

“New Zealand vessels carried the SBAS equipment into the Southern Ocean to identify the limits of the satellite reach, into Fiordland to test the effect of steep hills and around New Zealand to evaluate the resilience of the kit.”

There were 20 trials across Australasia, jointly funded by the Australian and New Zealand Governments. In New Zealand, Land Information NZ (LINZ) has been the lead agency, reflecting the importance of highly accurate positioning information, especially after land deformations, for example, after earthquakes.

“Aviation will be a major beneficiary of SBAS. For example, with SBAS, aircraft will be able to land at regional airports more often in adverse weather, reducing the number of diversions and cancellations.”

In the 2018 Australian Federal Budget, funding for the roll-out of an operational SBAS over Australia was announced. The New Zealand Government is developing a business case for a service here.

“The biggest cost of a SBAS is the need for two satellites to ensure service reliability. From the user perspective, the service is expected to be able to be received on existing GPS equipment.”

“This really is a game changer,” says Ms Young.

An industry briefing on the results of the SBAS trails is being held in Wellington on Wednesday 13 2018. There will also be a function to celebrate the results of the tests after this briefing.

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