Precise positioning set to boost Australia's prosperity

Thursday, 05 October, 2023

Precise positioning set to boost Australia's prosperity

Government investment in precise positioning infrastructure will have injected an additional half a billion dollars into the economy by June 2038, according to a new report into the economic benefits of Geoscience Australia’s National Positioning Infrastructure Capability (NPIC) program.

The NPIC is a network of more than 700 continuously operating global navigation satellite system reference stations from 11 different operators, supporting the delivery of centimetre-level positioning across most areas of mobile phone coverage in Australia. The report found that a unified approach to the management of the nation’s positioning infrastructure was paying dividends across industry, with flow-on environmental benefits by enabling more efficient operations across agriculture, construction and mining.

Ryan Ruddick, Director of Global Navigational Satellite System Infrastructure and Informatics at Geoscience Australia, said that by developing world-class positioning infrastructure and services, Geoscience Australia and its partners are directly contributing to the country’s economic prosperity.

“We know that investment in the NPIC’s positioning infrastructure is having a real impact across our regions and industries, with an expected return of $2.58 in direct benefits for every dollar we spend,” Ruddick said.

“The report by ACIL Allen found that the NPIC was having significant benefits of over half a billion dollars across the economy over two decades. This includes a boost of $163 million in agriculture, $91 million in mining, $68 million in construction, $43 million in surveying and mapping and $180 million of other, indirect benefits across the entire economy.

“These benefits will stretch across the country, with an estimated $194 million in Victoria, $176 million in NSW, $101 million in Queensland, $44 million in Western Australia, $16 million in Tasmania and $12 million in South Australia.

“Importantly, precise positioning benefits are not just confined to capital cities. In fact, it is expected that NPIC output will grow faster in the regions, reflecting the true value of precise positioning to industries like agriculture and mining. For example, precision agriculture such as auto-steering and yield monitoring systems is delivering productivity and environmental benefits across grain, cotton, sugar, viticulture and horticulture sectors, while precise positioning used in machine guidance for earthworks is providing increased precision and safety on construction worksites.”

Ruddick said the report found that precise positioning would also have a positive impact on employment across the country. “The NPIC is helping to create employment across many sectors including services, manufacturing and agriculture, with 2316 full-time jobs expected to have been created over a two-decade period to 30 June 2038,” he said.

“Importantly, the financial impact of NPIC will expand over time as industry continues to adopt precise positioning technology to increase safety, productivity and efficiency.”

The report, ‘Economic impact of the National Positioning Infrastructure Capability program’, is available here.

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