The Australian Government has prepared reports on the economic benefits of global navigation satellite systems (GNSS) including specific sectors of the Australian economy. The studies were conducted by ACIL Allen.
To provide some context for this two countries, Australia and New Zealand, have commissioned studies to estimate the contribution of geospatial data and technology to the national economy. In 2008 a report prepared for the CRCSI & ANZLIC by ACIL Tasman estimated that the spatial information sector contributed between $6.4 billion and $12.6 billion to the Australian gross domestic product (GDP). That represents between 0.6% and 1.2% of the Australian GDP in in 2006-2007. In 2009 a study sponsored by Land Information New Zealand (LINZ), the Department of Conservation (DOC) and the Ministry for Economic Development (MED) estimated that spatial information added at least $1.2 billion, or about 0.6% of GDP, to the New Zealand economy through productivity gains. Canada has announced the award of a similar project to a team that includes ACIL Tasman, who conducted the Australian and New Zealand studies.
Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) is the generic term for constellations of satellites that provide a signal that enables users to determine their position anywhere outdoors. The first GNSS system was the U.S. global positioining system or GPS. Since then Russia, Europe and China have launched their own satellite systems GLONASS, Galileo and Beidou.
Augmented GNSS provide greater accuracy and reliability to end user by bringing in additional external information. These systems are composed of multiple ground stations, located at accurately-surveyed points. The ground stations take measurements of the signal from the GNSS satellites and estimate the errors which impact the signal received by the users. This information is transmitted to end users by satellite or by terrestrial radio.
The report finds that augmented GNSS services have delivered economic benefits to Australian industry through improvements in productivity and more efficient use of resources. It estimates that: in 2012 augmented GNSS added between $2.3 billion and A$3.7 billion to Australia’s real GDP through improved productivity. It also projected that in 2020 real GDP would be between $7.8 billion and $13.7 billion higher as a result of the ues of augmented GNSS.
The report found that the greatest economic impact from the use of augmented GNSS was found to be in the agricultural, mining, construction and surveying sectors. But the utilities and transport sectors also realised important economic benefits.
The greatest economic benefits in 2012 were derived from the use of augmented GNSS in surveying, machine guidance, automation of operations and asset mapping. The levels of accuracy required for these applications ranges between 2 cm and 10 cm.
Augmented GNSS and utilties
Augmented GNSS contributes significantly to the productivity and competitiveness of the utilities sector which in this study includes electricity, gas and water services. Utilities use augmented GNSS data with geographic information systems to construct, monitor and manage network assets, manage outages, maintain systems and forecast demand. Augmented GNSS lowers development costs and invreases the efficient of asset management. Output from the utilities sector is estimated to have been between $50 million and $81 million higher as a result of the use of augmented GNSS in asset management and maintenance.
It is estimated that With increasing adoption of augmeneted GNSS in asset mapping and control systems, this could increase to between $173 million and $305 million by 2020. Further improvements in productivity are expected as the technology is adopted more widely across industry and as more innovative applications emerge.