Satellite Based Augmentation System (SBAS) Development

Australasian SBAS Test-Bed

The Australasian Satellite-Based Augmentation System (SBAS) test-bed is a collaboration between the New Zealand and Australian governments to evaluate SBAS technology over the region in 2017 and through to Jan 2019.

As part of developing the New Zealand Government's National Positioning Infrastructure (NPI) capability, LINZ on behalf of the New Zealand government, is co-operating with Geoscience Australia to deliver an Australasian SBAS test project. The New Zealand part of the project is funded through LINZ, New Zealand Transport Agency, Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment and Ministry of Transport.

As well as testing current-generation SBAS, the two-year project will test two new satellite positioning technologies including next generation SBAS and Precise Point Positioning, which will provide positioning accuracies of several decimetres and five centimetres respectively.

In March 2017, CRC-SI on behalf of LINZ and Geoscience Australia will call for organisations from across the aviation, road, rail, maritime, spatial, construction, mining, utilities and agriculture sectors to participate in the test-bed.

CRC-SI is the Australia and New Zealand Cooperative Research Centre for Spatial Information.  It is a collaborative research centre that partners government, academia and industry to conduct user-driven research related to spatial information.  The SBAS initiative resides within the Positioning programme of the CRC-SI.

What is the purpose of the test?

The SBAS testing is designed to achieve three main objectives:

  1. Test the performance of the technology directly in a number of industries.
  2. Test the current industry-specific requirements and how they interact with the technology.
  3. Test future industry-specific innovations that might be borne out by the technology.

Ultimately, the test-bed will help determine if New Zealand should pursue the development of an operational SBAS.

Will the SBAS be certified for aviation?

The SBAS test-bed will not be certified for safety-of-life use. Importantly, the test signals will not put existing GNSS services at risk, especially safety-of-life services such as aircraft navigation. Built into the SBAS test-bed message set is a specific provision for broadcasting signals that are not authorised for safety-of-life applications. Aviation certified GNSS receivers are designed to reject SBAS signals that are being broadcast in a test environment.

Any aircraft operator wishing to participate in the aforementioned trial will need to engage the relevant GPS equipment manufacturer for their aircraft type and seek a software update necessary to allow reception of the test signal. It should be noted that any such aircraft trial will, likely require the test-aircraft to be operated on an experimental type certificate.

When will the test begin, and how will the Aviation sector be kept informed?

The test is scheduled to begin in May 2017. Before the test begins, the Civil Aviation Authority will inform the aviation sector by NOTAM and/or an AIP Supplement.

There will also be updated information published on this web site, as well as on the New Southern Sky web site and a Vector article published in May.

How would an aviation participant report an issue with the SBAS test-bed?

In the unlikely event that the SBAS trial affects (or is suspected of affecting) your GPS system, the nature of the incident should be reported to CAA per the normal Part 12 defect and incident reporting process, as a failure, malfunction or degraded performance of a Navigation System. You should continue to use your normal aviation safety incident reporting channel. Including the text ‘SBAS issue’ in the Heading or description field will aid CAA identification and response.

What are the benefits offered by SBAS?

More accurate and reliable satellite-based positioning, navigation and timing technology, essential for the implementation of many intelligent transport systems.

The addition of a certified SBAS can assist in landing solutions by enabling vertical guidance from GPS (ILS like approaches).

However, the SBAS test-bed signal will not be available for instrument flying because the signal cannot be used for safety-of-life applications.

More information on the SBAS test-bed can be found on the LINZ site.

If you have any questions about the SBAS test-bed, please contact CAA at