Technology partnership supports district business productivity

Almost everyone today is aware of the use of GPS for a host of positioning applications. GPS is an American satellite navigation system, originally developed for military use, but now embedded in a wide range of everyday applications. Today, GPS isn’t the only navigation satellite system orbiting the Earth; the Russian Glonass system has around 20 satellites, soon to be joined by the European Galileo system and an upgraded GPS system. Collectively these systems are known as Global Navigation Satellite Systems, GNSS for short.

GNSS is a critical component in many areas, including cellular network timing and navigation systems, but it’s also used extensively in Civil Contracting, Agriculture, Surveying, GIS and Forestry.

Many of these applications require a very high degree of accuracy to be effective. Road Construction requires real time accuracy (RTK) of 1 - 2cm, as does automatic steering of agricultural machinery. Achieving this level of accuracy requires an investment in high-tech equipment and a connection to a fixed land-based GNSS reference station.

Hurunui District Council has teamed up with Global Survey to establish a fixed GNSS Reference Station in Amberley – look out for it on the roof of the Council building next time you pass. This state of the art GNSS receiver from Leica of Switzerland streams data via a dedicated internet link to Global Survey’s “SmartFIX” servers. The GNSS data is combined with data from receivers in Cheviot, Waikari, Banks Peninsula, Christchurch, Ashburton, Timaru, Methven and Tekapo, and used to develop a “Network RTK” correction which is rebroadcast to SmartFIX end users via the internet. For users of the SmartFIX service the result is a consistent, high accuracy position from their RTK GNSS equipment, for almost any location in Canterbury. SmartFIX operates similar services across large parts of the South Island and North Island.

SmartFIX Network RTK solutions virtually eliminate the need for a contractor or surveyor to own their own GNSS reference station, saving tens of thousands on set-up costs.

Hurunui District Council’s roading contractor, Downer Ltd, have been using SmartFIX for a couple of years. Chris Bartholemeusz, Downer’s Senior Surveyor in Canterbury says of the service “SmartFIX allows us to utilize our fleet of Leica GNSS equipment to its fullest. We use SmartFIX for initial site surveys, setting out the stakes for new construction work, and even directly on our graders and dozers for automated 3-dimensional blade control to an engineering design.”

The Agricultural sector is another area where there GNSS is having an impact. Claas Harvest Centre’s Technical Sales Specialist, Richard Sidey, based in Cheviot says “The availability of SmartFIX in our region is enabling farmers and contractors to get into Precision Ag more easily and at a lower cost than they would otherwise be up for. We can deliver the service via the cellphone network, or from a local radio system on site, so being outside of cellphone coverage is no barrier.”

Global Survey’s Technical Sales Specialist, Richard Harrison, installed the site in Amberley. “Being able to partner with Hurunui DC is a win for everyone. HDC have demonstrated their support for technology that can enhance the productivity of businesses in their district. For HDC, there is no cost or risk, and yet the benefits for the district are significant.”

If you would like to know more about SmartFIX, contact Global Survey on 0800 453422.