South dishes improve GPS create jobs

23 Jul 2024

From the Otago Daily Times...

Two 11m satellite dishes have been hoisted into place as work continues on creating a world-class satellite positioning service in Southland.

The dishes were installed recently at the site of New Zealand’s first uplink centre for the Southern Positioning Augmentation Network (SouthPAN) at Awarua, about 10km south of Invercargill.

SouthPAN is a partnership between Toitū Te Whenua Land Information New Zealand (Linz) and Geoscience Australia.

Economic benefits to New Zealand were estimated at $864 million over 20 years.

The centre is one of two across the SouthPAN network being built for the New Zealand and Australian governments. The first opened at Uralla, in New South Wales, in December last year and the Awarua centre was due for completion in the middle of this year.

SouthPAN is a satellite-based augmentation system which uses a network of space-based and ground infrastructure to compare satellite data against precisely measured positions and identify and correct positioning errors in global navigation satellite systems like GPS. Those corrections were sent to geostationary satellites and broadcast throughout New Zealand, Australia and maritime zones.

The system would improve the accuracy of GPS from the current 5m-10m down to as little as 10cm, supporting businesses and industries that relied on precise location data. At least six high-tech jobs would be created in Southland to operate the Awarua centre.