Home' Position : Position Feb Mar 2015 Contents Usersof satellite positioning
technology are seeing an
accelerating transition from
reliance solely on the Global Positioning
System (GPS) to a suite of Global
Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS).
Russia’s GLONASS system has been
complementing the USA’s GPS for several
years now, and recently we have seen the
long-awaited emergence of global systems
from China and Europe, and regional
systems from India and Japan. By virtue
of its geographic location, Australia is one
of the few countries in the world able to
benefit from access to the signals from all
of these systems.
The International GNSS Society of
Australia (IGNSS) is committed to helping
users navigate the plethora of issues as-
sociated with the Multi-GNSS era. A well-
established forum for improved under-
standing have been the society’s biennial
symposia and the next one, IGNSS2015, is
coming to the Gold Coast in July 2015.
The previous IGNSS Symposium, on
the Gold Coast in 2013, saw the first test
outside Japan of the Quasi-Zenith Satel-
lite System’s LEX signal. This important
precise positioning capability offered by
QZSS is of great interest for delivering
Precise Point Positioning via satellite to
remote parts of Australia and across the
Asia-Pacific region. The growing coop-
eration between Australia and Japan in
satellite positioning was recognised at
the highest level of both governments in
July 2014 through a joint statement by
prime minsters Abbot and Abe, commit-
ting to strengthened cooperation on space
activities, with specific mention of joint
research into QZSS.
China’s BeiDou system has continued
to grow in coverage and utility in recent
years. Australia already has BeiDou
coverage rivalling GPS and GLONASS,
and it is planned to extend from the Asia-
Pacific to full global coverage between
now and 2020.
However, multi-GNSS developments
have not been all good news in 2014.
In April 2014, the GLONASS satellites
suddenly started to transmit incorrect
Broadcast Ephemeris information. The
problem was found to be due to the wrong
messages being uploaded to the satellites
and was remedied as quickly as possible,
but the effects included some users expe-
riencing positioning errors up to 200km
and some receivers malfunctioning to the
point where they were unable to track any
GNSS signals including those from GPS.
Then in August 2014, the long-
awaited Galileo satellite launch went
awry when the two satellites were placed
into incorrect orbits. This led to an
independent commission of inquiry to
examine the circumstances in the hope
of avoiding similar problems with future
Galileo launches. Current efforts are
focused on reducing the eccentricity of
the orbits, with the hope to salvage some
IGNSS 2015 will have updates
and discussions on all of the latest
developments in GNSS and RNSS.
The setbacks with GLONASS and Gali-
leo highlight the need for Australia and
other countries in the Asia-Pacific region
to have in place multi-GNSS positioning
infrastructure that can be used to identify
and mitigate the effects of problems with
any given system on any given day.
Australia’s plans for a robust multi-
GNSS enabled National Positioning
Infrastructure (NPI) continue to
develop. Key Australian government
departments that rely heavily on GNSS
and associated technologies have come
together in a Position, Navigation and
Timing (PNT) Working Group under
the Australian Government’s Space
Coordination Committee. The working
group is led by Geoscience Australia,
which is also starting to put in place other
NPI governance processes, including
an advisory board to bring together key
positioning infrastructure players from
all sectors of the Australian economy.
Latest developments with the NPI will be
a focus of information sessions and panel
discussions planned for IGNSS 2015.
The many applications and
developments in GNSS will be showcased
at IGNSS 2015. Topics significant
to Australia and the region include:
multi-GNSS hardware and processing
techniques, multi-sensor systems, GNSS
meteorology, GNSS infrastructure
and Geodesy. Machine guidance in
agriculture, construction and mining,
intelligent transport systems, and
maritime applications will highlight the
increasing need to deliver robust, high-
performance positioning capabilities for
safety and liability critical applications.
The growing reliance on GNSS across
these important industries demands that
the Asia-Pacific region take appropriate
steps to understand and manage the key
challenges facing current and future
GNSS. Accordingly, discussions at IGNSS
will focus on GNSS vulnerability, regional
space-based augmentation systems, non-
GNSS positioning systems, and a range of
alternatives and backups to GNSS.
Of the eighteen critical infrastructure
sectors identified by the US, seventeen
rely on GNSS timing and/or positioning.
Techniques to combat any sort of
GNSS: exciting future
but still not enough!
A preview of the IGNSS2015 Symposium.
Scientists from Japanese Aerospace Exploration
Agency (JAXA) testing Quasi-Zenith Satellite
System (QZSS) equipment at Surfers Paradise
during IGNSS 2013. Matt Higgins photo.
36 position February/March 2015
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