The Industrial Sciences Group
PUTS MATHS AND STATISTICS IN ACTION FOR POSITIONING ACCURACY.
Frontier SI Business partner, Industrial Sciences Group (ISG), is an applied research company specialising in industrial math/statistics for complex engineering and commercial systems.
Since 2019, ISG has been working with Geoscience Australia (GA) and Frontier SI to develop the National Positioning Infrastructure Capability (NPIC), using mathematics, statistics and software engineering to significantly improve the accuracy of positioning estimates.
This project seeks to improve GPS and GNSS positioning accuracy from 5-10m (current) down to 3-5cm.
To do this, errors in the GNSS system are estimated and refined using advanced statistical techniques and Kalman filter estimation. ISG’s contributions to this project include improved accuracy of estimated products, greater filter stability, faster software run-time speed, robust statistical outlier detection and general software verification.
In addition to these contributions, ISG is currently developing software to process extremely high accurate Satellite Laser Ranging (SLR) data and incorporate it into the NPIC. This project involves researching, developing, and implementing scientific software modules that allow the processing of Satellite Laser Ranging (SLR) observations for the validation of GNSS satellite orbits estimated by the ACS.
Additionally, this project involves improving the accuracy of the satellite orbit and geodetic parameters through a joint estimation of SLR and GNSS observations. By augmenting the volume of GNSS observations with the accuracy of SLR observations, a much higher degree of positioning accuracy is possible for scientific, surveying and validation purposes. The contributions from ISG to the NPIC have shown the great benefit of using advanced analytics on existing hardware to improve the accuracy of positioning at a relatively low-cost.
Overview of the National Positioning Infrastructure Capability (NPIC). Image: Geoscience Australia
A key element in many of ISG’s projects (including its work on the NPIC) is the Kalman filter. The Kalman filter is well-known in spacecraft trajectory control since the Apollo Moon mission days of the 1960’s and is commonly used in positioning and navigation systems. The NPIC utilises the Kalman filter in a similar way to estimate errors in the GNSS system. The Kalman filter processes vast quantities of noisy data over long periods of time to form highly accurate estimates of errors – which are then passed onto the end user to correct their position. ISG has developed advanced Kalman filter expertise, having implemented several smoothing algorithms for the NPIC, and applying non-linear Kalman filter variants for tracking orbital debris around the earth in other space-related projects.
About The Industrial Sciences Group
ISG was formed from two applied research centres at the Australian Research Council and the University of New South Wales. We have 13 years’ experience applying advanced math and statistics for complex projects in astronautics, geodesy, transport, mineral processing, plant control systems and energy in Australia, the US and Israel. Our work in the Space sector includes projects with Google Lunar X and Space IL Lunar Mission; NASA Goddard; The Australian Space Agency; Space Environment Research Centre and EOS Space Systems; Geoscience Australia; AGI, the University of Colorado (Boulder), Space Exploration Engineering (contractors to NASA CLPS Missions).