Ordnance Survey is offering Licensed Partners and other interested parties the chance to develop positioning services based on a national framework for correcting signals from orbiting satellites. OS Net is a network of more than 80 GPS base stations designed to enable different levels of improved real-time accuracy from the GPS anywhere in Great Britain. OS Net is already delivering efficiencies for Ordnance Survey field staff where it is enabling centimetre-level positioning for their data-collection operations.
Now, Ordnance Survey is planning to make the service publicly available through a tier of partner organisations. These are likely to be application service providers working in the geographic information industry and companies already involved in GPS hardware, software and services. OS Net works by improving the standard accuracy of raw GPS readings, which is typically around 10 metres. The accuracy can be enhanced by sending the user a correction data stream containing the error sources within the GPS. OS Net is designed to offer such error corrections in real time on a nationwide scale and could be used to augment any application that requires GPS positioning.
OS Net comprises a permanent national network of GPS base stations linked in real time to a server hub at Ordnance Survey’s Southampton head office. When Ordnance Survey staff dial into the hub, they relay their approximate location and the server delivers the GPS correction to enable a positional accuracy of between 1 m and 1 cm, depending on the user’s GPS equipment. Outside Ordnance Survey, OS Net has the potential to benefit all users of highly detailed GPS technology such as surveyors, engineers, construction companies and utilities. An OS Net partner would generate GPS-correction products to serve their customers. The initiative has already been the focus of a series of workshops for chartered surveyors and utilities. Representatives from 25 utility companies attended the most recent event in Birmingham on October 5, hearing presentations on positioning trials carried out by Yorkshire Water, National Grid Transco and Thames Water.