UK, 2 December 2006 – Ordnance Survey is adding more reference stations in north-west Scotland to complete its revolutionary national infrastructure for receiving satellite-based positioning signals.
Eleven new receivers to the north of the Great Glen will underpin a range of publicly available GPS correction services aimed at surveyors, highway engineers, utility companies and others in need of pinpoint positioning information.
The infrastructure, called OS Net, improves the real-time accuracy of raw satellite-based positioning from around 10 metres down to around 1 centimetre. Initially developed to support Ordnance Survey’s own field staff, it has now been made available to commercial technology partners so they can build distinct applications for their own customers.
“By extending coverage into north-west Scotland we can strengthen what is already a vital enabling infrastructure for users across Great Britain,” says Neil Ackroyd, Ordnance Survey’s Director of Data Collection and Management.
“We are the first organisation in Britain to develop a complete national network enabling seamless real-time GPS positioning at the centimetre level. Our investment in the latest satellite-based GPS technology has enabled our own staff to work more efficiently as they collect definitive geographic information. We have now taken this a stage further by opening up OS Net for others.”
The north-west Scotland stations, plus a planned new addition on the Scilly Isles, off the coast of Cornwall, will complete a roll-out of more than 100 receivers linked to mounted antennae across Great Britain with permanent power and communication links. Each receiver is connected in real time to a server hub at Ordnance Survey’s Southampton head office. Data collected by the stations is sent in real time to the hub, where it is transmitted for partner applications within milliseconds.
Partners then generate various correction models to improve the typical 10-metre accuracy of raw GPS readings to the metre or centimetre level, depending on their customers’ choice of GPS equipment and other technical factors.
The commercialisation of the network reflects growing demand for a wider choice of positioning applications among high-accuracy GPS users such as utility companies locating and recording underground assets. Precision agriculture, emergency response, vehicle tracking, and near-shore marine and port operations can also be assisted through precision GPS.
Since December 2005, commercial services based on OS Net have begun to appear from Leica Geosystems and Trimble. Both specialise in providing correction models for the surveying, construction and civil engineering sectors.
As well as partner services coming on stream, Ordnance Survey’s own free web-based GPS service for non-commercial, post-processing and coordinate transformation continues to be improved for GPS users at www.ordnancesurvey.co.uk/gps.