$260m for better industrial GPS

James Riley
Editorial Director

The federal government will dish out $260 million to satellite infrastructure and more accurate global positioning system (GPS) technologies in Australia in an effort to “create jobs and support Australian industry”.

Revealed in the federal budget handed down in Canberra on Tuesday night, the cash injection would go toward improving GPS in regional areas, and providing better access to small businesses.

“We rely on satellite and GPS technology for just about every aspect of our lives – from Google Maps on our individual phones, through to air traffic control at the busiest airports. More precise technology will make Australian businesses more productive, safer and more efficient,” Resources Minister Matt Canavan said.

The Real Australia: Big investments in improving GPS accuracy in the regions

“More accurate GPS will improve productivity by allowing new technology to be created and used across the economy,” he said.

“Growing Australia’s digital economy will also benefit developed sectors such as mining, transport, construction, aviation and agriculture. This investment will improve competitiveness and secure jobs across the Australian economy.”

The funding includes $160.9 million over four years to deliver a Satellite-Based Augmentation System – the technology underpinning GPS. After the four years, $39.2 million would be provided in ongoing funding.

This would improve reliability and accuracy of positioning data from five metres to 10cm in regional Australia.

A further $64 million is to go towards the National Positioning Infrastructure Capability to improve GPS accuracy down to 3cm in areas with mobile coverage – such as metropolitan or regional centres.

Senator Canavan said the improved GPS technologies would benefit a range of Australian industries.

“Our investment in this world-standard technology will have direct benefits including virtual fencing of farms and better management of cattle and livestock over vast distances,” he said.

“It also has applications for regional aviation such as improved access to regional areas by enabling planes to land on smaller airstrips and navigate difficult terrain such as canyons.”

“This is a practical investment to improve the lives of Australians and make businesses more productive. This technology provides instant, reliable and accurate positioning information, anytime and anywhere in Australia.”

The government is to provide $36.9 million over three years from 2019-2020 to provide Australian businesses, governments and researchers with access to satellite data, allowing them to “build new digital products and services for commercial purposes and to interpret and analyse changes to Australia’s physical landscape”.

Digital Earth Australia gets $36.9 million to provide for “greater access to reliable, standardised satellite data that identifies physical changes to the Australian environment”.

“This data will help researchers, government and business better understand environmental changes, such as coastal erosion, crop growth and water quality,” Senator Canavan said.

“Our investment in satellite imagery will ensure a range of Australian industries have access to data that can help them tailor their investments, create jobs in target regions and increase their competitiveness.” he said.

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