Cruise

Cruise ships to help improve GPS accuracy

Cruise ships could soon help to give you the directions you need to get from A to B.

And no, we don’t mean they will give you a lift to work.

If you’ve ever tried using a GPS you know how frustrating they can be.

Especially when they try convincing you to drive through roadworks or across lakes with their patronising voices and inability to pronounce Australian place names.

Anyway…

Well, with the help of cruise ships like Ovation fo the Seas, GPS devices could be about to get a lot more accurate.

The federal government agency, Geoscience Australia, is testing out a new satellite system that could improve positioning data, reports the ABC.

“Stand alone GPS today has an accuracy of five to 10 metres,” researcher John Dawson told the ABC.

“The technology that we’re testing will bring the performance of positioning down to around 10 centimetres.”

A margin like this might not seem like such a big deal, but to the maritime sector, it’s much more significant.

For huge ships like Ovation of the Seas, which is one of the participants of the trial, there isn’t much room for error.

At 343 meters long and 10 stories high, the ship can’t quite make it under the Sydney Harbour Bridge, so bringing it into a congested area like Circular Quay can be difficult, harbour master Philip Holliday told the ABC.

The Ovation of the Seas has been fitted with new technology for its visits to the busy harbour, that feeds data into a Satellite Based Augmentation System, that uses data from existing satellites and infrastructure to improve its accuracy.

“The signals that we will ultimately transmit, if this signal moves from a testbed into something more operational, will be able to be utilised by all Australians,” Dawson told the ABC.

“So anyone who relies on GPS positioning will benefit.”


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