NZ/AU partnership to bring world-class satellite positioning services

Land Information

Land Information Minister Damien O’Connor today announced a joint Trans-Tasman partnership which will provide Australasia with world-leading satellite positioning services that are up to 50 times more accurate, boosting future economic productivity, sustainability and safety. 

New Zealand and Australia have partnered to deliver the Southern Positioning Augmentation Network (SouthPAN), with the first services available in the next few weeks.

“The SouthPAN project will immediately improve the accuracy, reliability and availability of existing satellite positioning systems in Australasia,” Damien O’Connor said.

“Independent analysis of SouthPAN shows it has the potential to benefit many major sectors in New Zealand from transport, construction and utilities to agriculture, forestry, and horticulture.

“The quantified economic benefits from this are estimated to be $864m over the next 20 years and will provide New Zealanders with greater economic security into the future.

“SouthPAN will improve current positioning services, which are only accurate to between 5 to 10 metres, making them accurate to as little as 10 centimetres – without the need for a mobile phone signal or internet,” Damien O’Connor said.

“That will mean search and rescue can operate in poor weather conditions and remote places. It will help drive innovation in fenceless farms and precision agriculture in ways that improve productivity and lift our sustainability credentials. Future applications will also help with tracking shipping as well as the use of drones and unmanned vehicles.

“SouthPAN is the Southern Hemisphere’s first satellite navigation augmentation service.

“This is crucial digital infrastructure for the future, and we expect the actual benefits to be greater over the project’s lifespan. Beyond the horizon, new products on the market will use this infrastructure to create value in new ways for businesses and consumers,” Damien O’Connor said.

Australia’s Minister for Resources, Hon Madeleine King, said the investment is a major commitment between the Australian and New Zealand governments, providing broad benefits for all of Australasia.

“SouthPAN will allow visually impaired citizens to navigate cities with pinpoint assistive technologies. For our Royal Flying Doctor Service, it will allow light aircraft to land more safely in remote rural areas in all weather conditions,” Madeleine King said.

Damien O’Connor said New Zealand’s partnership with Australia was vital to accessing this technology and acknowledged them for partnering on this significant investment.

“Without this partnership, the cost of entry would simply be too great for New Zealand to take on alone,” Damien O’Connor said.