The Department of Land Surveying and Geo-informatics organised “The First Hong Kong Symposium on Satellite Positioning System Applications”, which was held on 11 December, 1999 in Chiang Chen Studio Theatre of the Hong Kong Polytechnic University. This symposium focused on the application of satellite positioning techniques in the areas of survey and mapping, vehicle navigation, GPS/GIS integration and construction engineering. The symposium was co-sponsored by the Hong Kong Institute of Surveyors (HKIS), the Hong Kong Institution of Engineering Surveyors (HKInstES), the Hong Kong Society for Transportation Studies (HKSTS), Leica Geosystems Limited, PIL Systems Limited, Topcon Optical (HK) Limited and the Trimble Navigation Limited.
Over 170 participants from different fields and professions, including survey & mapping, engineering construction and transportation engineering, attended the symposium. Mr. Chan Hak, Deputy Director of Survey and Mapping of the HKSAR, and Prof. J.M. Ko, Acting Dean of the Faculty of Construction of the Hong Kong Polytechnic University, gave the opening speeches. Renowned GPS scholar, Prof. P. A. Cross, Head of the Department of Geomatic Engineering of the University College London, in his keynote speech, highlighted the current status and future trends of satellite positioning system development. He then addressed the major difficulties of satellite positioning, including multipath and atmospheric errors and satellite visibility. These are the major factors that affect satellite-positioning accuracy, both for long and short baselines – in both static and kinematic modes. Professor Cross expressed the opinion that modelling of these errors is the major research challenge. With regard to the satellite visibility problem, especially in some areas such as in high rise environments, he suggested that a device called a “pseudolite” that can broadcast emulated satellite signals, might be a solution for some applications. Lastly, he cited different examples of satellite positioning applications. The keynote speech ended with the remark that the applications of satellite positioning are limited only by one’s imagination.
Seventeen papers were presented at this one-day symposium, covering the areas of land and sea navigation, transformation of coordinates, future trends of satellite positioning technology, engineering construction and survey and mapping applications. The closing remarks were given by the Symposium Chairman, Dr. Esmond Mok. There was an exhibition viewing session. Participants used the time to get the most updated information on different types of positioning equipment and to see the demonstrations. Although the paper presentation programme was quite intensive, participants could leisurely socialise with old and new friends during tea and lunchbreaks.