GPS: WHERE THE BLOODY HELL ARE YOU?


Where GPSFrom tracking your deep pan, hot dog crust supreme pizza order, to finding your way to that laneway bar – Australians are becoming increasingly reliant on Global Positioning Systems (GPS).

Positioning data has become essential to a range of applications and businesses worldwide.

It helps to increase productivity, propels innovation, provides critical navigation systems on aircraft, increases water efficiency in the agribusiness sector, helps to locate vessels in distress at sea, and supports intelligent navigation tools and advanced transport management systems that seamlessly connect cities and regions.

On the road

In the road transport space, GPS has become something of a necessity rather than an option, with a range of road users wholly reliant on accurate GPS positioning systems – along with technology such as telematics – to ascertain and track where they’ve been, where they are and where they’re heading.

The proliferation of GPS covers all weight segments in the Australian truck market, with many manufacturers increasingly offering in-house GPS systems as standard.

Concrete gains in fuel efficiency, productivity and safety are substantial, and they’re all underpinned by reliable access to GPS technology and accurate positioning data.

Pay to play

It makes sense then that the federal Government has just announced it will invest $12 million across a two year program testing GPS capabilities under the government’s National Positioning Infrastructure Capability (NPI).

A particular chunk of investment will be funneled towards the Satellite Based Augmentation Systems (SBAS) testing, which looks to overcome the current gaps in our mobile and radio communications and, when combined with on-ground operational infrastructure and services, will ensure that accurate positioning information can be received anytime and anywhere within Australia.

Cash in

For those businesses that reap the financial rewards of utilising GPS in their day-to-day operations, this comes as a welcome announcement indeed.

In fact, the government claims that the “wide-spread adoption of improved positioning technology has the potential to generate upwards of $73 billion of value to Australia by 2030.”

Federal Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, Darren Chester, said the program will test the potential of SBAS technology in four transport sectors — aviation, maritime, rail and road.

“SBAS utilises space-based and ground-based infrastructure to improve and augment the accuracy, integrity and availability of basic Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) signals, such as those currently provided by the USA Global Positioning System (GPS).

“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.”

Pin point

The two year project is set to involve representatives from a number of industries including agriculture, aviation, construction, mining, maritime, rail, road, spatial, and utilities to participate in the test-bed.

Importantly for those businesses becoming increasingly reliant on positioning data, SBAS technology has the potential to improve the accuracy of positioning systems throughout the whole country to less than five centimetres.

For those who are particular about their number and stats, that’s as close to spot on as you’re going to get. It will ensure those planned efficiencies that Australian businesses have invested in, finally bear some fruit.

From standard parcel deliveries to weird and wonderful pizza toppings, the bolstering of positioning technology throughout Australia is as welcome as it is timely.

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