Analysis Centre Software (ACS)

A data processing engine to manage the acquisition, processing and delivery of multi-GNSS data and related products.

The Challenge

Our location on the globe is essential to everyday life. Satellite positioning technologies have enabled the precise navigation and positioning we rely on at the touch of a button, from smartphones through to autonomous vehicles. Current consumer-grade positioning technology typically allows for positioning within a 5-10 metre accuracy, which is insufficient for many applications. Using high-grade equipment or extensive data processing, positioning accuracies of 2-3cm are possible to a select few specialist practitioners. The major challenge in this project is to deliver a data processing engine to manage the acquisition, processing and delivery of multi-GNSS (Global Navigation Satellite Systems, including GPS) data and related products, needed to support positioning accuracy to within three centimetres in areas with mobile phone coverage (internet access) for more consumer-ready applications.

Partners

FrontierSI continues to collaborate with Geoscience Australia and partner universities to build the ACS which forms the primary utilisation pathway for research from our Positioning and Geodesy theme.

The Solution

The ACS was a core deliverable of the CRCSI Positioning Program which in June 2018 delivered ‘version 1.0’ of the software. The fundamental positioning capability implemented by the ACS is Precise Point Positioning (PPP). In technical terms, version 1.0 enables a post-processed float ambiguity solution based on the ionospheric-free observable. This means that after the raw position data is obtained, the software determines the amount of uncertainty in the distance to the satellite as a decimal number, based on the use of two signal frequencies which cancel the effects from part of the upper atmosphere.

Following version 1.0, a four-year development plan was prepared which sets out a strategy to build, validate and implement additional capabilities of the ACS. Under this project, by July 2022, the ACS will move to a release version that implements a new approach to multi-GNSS PPP where the raw GNSS observables are processed in an “undifferenced-uncombined” way. The advantages of this method are that the solution is timelier and the multi-frequency observations produce more robust results. The principal product from an operational ACS will be a position correction service which, when used by a GNSS receiver with internet access, can increase position accuracy to 3 to 5 cm.

This transition represents a major software development task, with a significant underpinning R&D dependency. The ACS will enable real-time positioning services across Australia and its maritime jurisdictions with improved accuracy and timeliness. Importantly the ACS will allow control over how a future NPIC will process and deliver precise positioning products to users, and will promote Australia’s unique, state-of-the-art modelling and analyses software systems for multi-GNSS parameter estimation and quality control.

Impact

Position allows us to locate ourselves in the world and get to where we want to go. This brings increased productivity, improved community safety and boosted innovation. The reported economic benefits of positioning technologies have the potential to generate upward of AUD$73 billion of value to Australia by 2030. The ACS is an essential component of an operational NPIC and supports the vision of “instantaneous GNSS positioning, anywhere, anytime, with the highest possible accuracy and the highest possible integrity”. It will help deliver accurate, reliable and instantaneous positioning across Australia and its maritime zones and lower the barriers to accessing advanced high precision positioning technology in Australia. This will enable Australian industry to progress and allow for innovation across all sectors such as agriculture, transport, emergency management, mining, engineering and logistics.

Contact

To learn more, contact FrontierSI at contact@frontiersi.com.au, or connect with Geoscience Australia Project Director, Mike Moore at Michael.Moore@ga.gov.au.