SBAS Test-bed and History

SBAS Test-bed

Positioning data is now fundamental to a range of applications and businesses worldwide. It increases our productivity, secures our safety and propels innovation. It enables location on smartphones, provides safety-of-life navigation on aircraft, increases water efficiency on farms, helps to locate vessels in distress at sea, and supports intelligent navigation tools and advanced transportation management systems that connect cities and regions. While highly accurate positioning technologies are already available, they are often expensive and only available in specific areas and to niche markets.

Between 2017-2019 a series of trials were undertaken as part of the Satellite-Based Augmentation System (SBAS) Test-bed.  SBAS augments Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) signals to deliver a satellite positioning capability across a region with accuracy ranging from sub-metre to decimetre. An SBAS will overcome the current gaps in mobile and radio communications to ensure that accurate positioning information can be received anytime and anywhere across Australia, New Zealand and their maritime zones. It will also support the aviation, maritime and road transport sectors which have a requirement for high-integrity positioning-guaranteed performance with metre level accuracy.

On behalf of the Australian and New Zealand Governments and our partners Geoscience Australia and Land Information New Zealand, FrontierSI was responsible for managing and completing user testing with over 100 organisations, through 27 projects, across 10 industry sectors including aviation, agriculture, consumer, construction, maritime, rail, resources, road, spatial and utilities.

Through the contributions of our partner organisations, The SBAS Test-bed Demonstrator Trial, which ran between 2017 and 2019, has laid out the case for delivering an operational SBAS in the coming years that will provide quick and reliable access to positioning and timing information anytime and anywhere across Australia and New Zealand.

Three Reports have been released following the conclusion of the SBAS Test-bed Demonstrator Trial:

  1. SBAS Test-bed Demonstrator Trial Economic Benefits Report: which provides an assessment of the economic benefits of Satellite-Based Augmented Systems across Australia and New Zealand.
  2. SBAS Test-bed Project Report: provides detail on the technology, signals, completed projects, equipment and environment tested as well as the main challenges, findings and recommendations.
  3. SBAS Test-bed Technical Report: details performance results from a testing campaign of the SBAS services by FrontierSI.

Following the SBAS Test-bed Demonstrator Trial, Geoscience Australia produced a suite of informative videos on the Positioning Australia Program, and how the SBAS applies specifically to the agriculture, road, and construction industries. You can view three of these videos below, or access more on the Geoscience YouTube channel:


History of the SBAS Programme

Australia first investigated the merits of SBAS in 2011, and New Zealand in 2014. Both studies had a focus solely on aviation use. By 2016, another concerted Australian effort was made, this time covering multiple industry sectors, representing a much wider segment of the economy. As a result, a two year SBAS test-bed was funded with the goal of demonstrating the economic benefits that SBAS would bring to both countries.

In early 2017 the governments of Australia and New Zealand agreed to fund a two year test-bed to evaluate the benefits of an SBAS technology across a number of industry sectors in the region. The highly-successful test-bed ran from 2017 to 2019 and built the case for the governments of both countries to fund an operational SBAS.