New GPS technology being trialled is 100 times more accurate

Australia will be the first country in the world to use new GPS technology that will be almost a hundred times more accurate than the existing system.

The new system will enable a range of new applications, such as precision farming. The Satellite-Based Augmentation System (SBAS) trial is being managed by Geoscience Australia in partnership with technology companies GMV, Inmarsat and Lockheed Martin.

The Cooperative Research Centre for Spatial Information (CRCSI) is managing the 30 industry projects being trialled as part of the project.

The CRCSI will evaluate and report on the benefits and applications relevant to their business and sector, will range across 10 industry sectors including agriculture, aviation, construction, consumer, maritime, rail, road, resources, spatial and utilities.

One of the first trials is by Central Queensland University, which will test how SBAS can be used by cattle and sheep farmers to lower costs and improve production. The project is testing the construction of ‘virtual fencing’ for strip grazing, and looking at how the precise tracking of livestock can be used for early disease detection and more efficient breeding programs.

Current GPS (Global Positioning System) can only track to within 5 to 10 metres. SBAS improves this to less than 10 centimetres.

The increase in accuracy comes from triangulating three separate signals, which will be uplinked to a geostationary communications satellite out of Lockheed Martin’s station at Uralla, near Armidale in northern NSW.

In September Lockheed Martin switched on a second generation SBAS-2 at Uralla. Australia is the first country in the world to trial Precise Point Positioning (PPP) corrections integrated into an SBAS service.

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