By Chris Rizos, Co-chair, Steering Committee of Multi-GNSS Asia
A dramatic increase over the next five years to roughly 100 GNSS satellites in the skies over Asia and Oceania makes that region the fastest growing area in GNSS. The Multi-GNSS Asia (MGA) initiative, a cooperative international demonstration campaign, seeks to take full advantage of this scientific and technical windfall, gaining early experience with the new signals and services of multi-constellation GNSS.
The MGA organization is sponsored by Japan’s Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), and seeks to promote the region as the “showcase of the new GNSS era” through this demonstration campaign. See an animation of the burgeoning satellite availability over the coming decade. The MGA demonstration campaign consists of a series of activities from 2010 to 2015.
Infrastructure Deployment. JAXA is currently deploying a multi-GNSS monitoring (MGM) network, consisting of continuously operating reference stations equipped with multi-GNSS receivers, that will support the production of precise orbit and satellite clock offset information for the multiple constellations. The MGM-net will be deployed in two stages. The first 20 receivers supplied by JAXA will go to hosting countries and organizations in the Asia-Oceania region by early 2012, with an additional 40 available for deployment globally in 2013. The MGM-net is a component of the tracking network of the International GNSS Service (IGS) global multi-GNSS experiment (M-GEX, igs.org). Both MGM-net and M-GEX will include data and analysis centers and faciltate the sharing of information and resources among participating organizations. The multi-GNSS tracking data will be available to everyone in the form of RINEX files.
Projects. Joint experiments involving new or extended multi-GNSS applications, such as disaster management, intelligent transportation systems, precise positioning, and location-based services will be promoted among GNSS providers, receiver manufacturers, local service providers, government organizations, and universities in the Asia-Oceania region. Some of these will take advantage of the special characteristics of the first QZSS satellite, Michibiki. Several project proposals have been submitted over the last year; one of particular interest is a call by JAXA for a “Multi-GNSS Joint Experiment.” Such experiments could include using the broadcast augmentation message known as the L-band Experimental (LEX) signal, modulated on the L6/E6 frequency at 1278.75MHz, to support precise positioning. China has recently proposed a “BeiDou Application Demonstration & Experience Campaign” (BADEC) as an MGA project activity.
Regional Workshops. An important MGA activity is the organization of an annual workshop to report on joint experiments and results and to promote new joint projects. The First Asia Oceania Regional Workshop on GNSS (AORWG), held in January 2010 in Bangkok, Thailand, drew 195 participants from 18 countries.
The second AORWG took place that November in Melbourne, Australia, and drew 101 participants from 11 countries.
The most recent AORWG was held November 1–3 this year on Jeju Island, South Korea, attracting 86 participants. Five demonstration projects were proposed by researchers from Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Australia, and Malaysia, and were all endorsed by the MGA Steering Committee.
- Evaluation of Multi-GNSS for Precision Agriculture in Korea; Chungnam National University, Korea
- Sustainable Resource Utilization by Precision Farming of Oil Palm Plantation; RTK-Auto Guided Oil Palm Planter; On-the-Go Soil ECa Mapping; University Putra Malaysia , Malaysia
- Automated rice transplanter guided by using Multi-GNSS including QZSS; Agricultural Research Center, National Agriculture Research Organization , JAPAN
- Joint QZSS/GPS positioning using L1/L5 band signals; National Cheng Kung University, Taiwan
- Multi-GNSS Experiment; Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology University, Australia.
The status of the MGM-net deployment and the results of the demonstration projects will be presented at the fourth AORWG scheduled for November 2012 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
China’s BADEC. At the third AORGW, Dr. X. R. Dong, an expert from the International Cooperation Research Center of China Satellite Navigation Office (CSNO), introduced plans for several long-term project activities under the banner of the BeiDou/GNSS Application Demonstration & Experience Campaign (BADEC). This is another important proposal from China, following the International GNSS Monitoring and Assessment Service (iGMAS) that has drawn attention and support from GNSS providers, users, and international organizations.
A subgroup dealing with iGMAS is approved and setup by ICG-6; the sub-group is co-chaired by Dr. X. R. Dong, IGS and Satoshi Kogure from Japan. Besides continuing to advocate for iGMAS, the goals of BADEC include seeking to make the Asia-Oceania region a showcase of the new GNSS era, and including BeiDou-specific goals such as “welcome the introduction and utilization of BeiDou services,” “let users experience the Multi-GNSS including BeiDou,” and “encourage GNSS provider and users to carry out experiment and demonstration jointly.”
Both IGMAS and BADEC will contribute to promote the GNSS open-service performance, compatibility, and interoperability, to be implemented through extensive international cooperation, especially with the IGS’s M-GEX and MGM-net.
Chris Rizos is professor and head of the School of Surveying & Spatial Information Systems, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia. He is president of the International Association of Geodesy, serving from now into 2015.