On 17 February 2017, the Minister of Transport announced(external link) New Zealand’s participation in an Australasian trial programme using a satellite-based augmentation system (SBAS) test bed. This project will run for two years and started in February 2017. During this period the trial programme will include a range of both transport and non-transport industry sectors that would potentially benefit from having SBAS available. The trial programme will help with the development of a business case for the provision of an SBAS service for Australasia.

The project will test three types of SBAS: current generation; next generation; and a technology called precise point positioning that is not yet suitable for mobile platforms. The trial of next-generation SBAS will be a world first.

The test-bed is being provided by Lockheed Martin, GMV and Inmarsat.

New Zealand is contributing A$2 million to the project. The project is being managed through the Australasian Cooperative Research Centre for Spatial Information (CRC-SI)(external link).

CRC-SI will be calling for expressions of interest in participating in the trials in March 2017. 

New Zealand departments and agencies involved in the project include Land Information New Zealand, the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, the Ministry of Transport, the New Zealand Transport Agency and the Civil Aviation Authority.

SBAS improves the positioning and timing accuracy and integrity of global satellite navigation systems such as the global positioning system (GPS). SBAS involves the use of a network of ground reference stations to compute corrections for sending GNSS receivers via satellite. SBAS coverage is currently available in most parts of the developed world but not yet for Australasia.

SBAS has a wide range of potential applications for all modes of transport.

The importance of positioning technology to transport is recognised in the Government’s Intelligent Transport Systems Technology Action Plan 2014-18 (see in particular Section 4.7 on page 16).

More detail about the SBAS project is available on the Land Information New Zealand web site(external link). Background information on positioning and transport is available here.

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