New Satellite Based Augmentation System technology set to revolutionise Australian industries

New, next-generation positioning technology is on the verge of revolutionising a range of industries – and it’s being tested in our own backyard.

GeoScience Australia, aerospace leader Lockheed Martin and New Zealand Cooperative Research Centre for Spatial Information have entered into a two-year program testing Satellite Based Augmentation System technology.

It’s technology that will hopefully enable civilian satellite navigation systems to provide positioning information within centimetres of accuracy.

“SBAS utilises space-based and ground-based infrastructure to improve and augment the accuracy, integrity and availability of basic Global Navigation Satellite System signals, such as those currently provided by the USA Global Positioning System,” Federal Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Darren Chester said when $12 million of Federal funding was invested into the project earlier this year.

“Positioning data can also be used in a range of other transport applications including maritime navigation, automated train management systems and in the future, driverless and connected cars.”

And local experts say they see potential in agriculture.

The Express joined students from The University of New England’s Precision Agriculture Research Group for an exclusive tour of the Lockheed Martin space tracking station in Uralla last Friday.

UNE’s PARG leader, Professor David Lamb, is currently working on a project analysing the benefits 3D drone imaging of crops and pastures.

“The rapid development of low cost, high quality camera systems, and new opportunities available with terrestrial and UAV platforms, offers the chance to re-invent how we undertake remote sensing for crop and pasture monitoring and yield/quality prediction,” his report states.

“Ultimately yield and quality drives all forms of agricultural production.”

Lockheed and Martin say the ultimate goal of the SBAS project is for highly accurate and trustworthy positioning information to be accessible anytime and anywhere across Australia and New Zealand.

Minister for Resources and Northern Australia Matt Canavan said access to more accurate data about the landscape would unlock huge potential. “Access to this type of technology can help industry and Government make informed decisions about future investments,” he said.

Over the next two years the project will test two new satellite positioning technologies including SBAS and Precise Point Positioning, which will provide positioning accuracies of several decimetres and five centimetres respectively.