Martin Hale

Identifying and Addressing Management Issues for Australian State Sponsored CORS Networks

MartinHale sq
University of Melbourne
Supervisor (Academic)
Dr Philip Collier & Dr Allison Kealy, University of Melbourne
Supervisor (Industry)
Peter Ramm, Vic Dept of Sustainability & Environment
Artist at South Street Art Studio - Ballarat
Thesis Abstract

Continuously Operating Reference Station (CORS) networks are increasingly being deployed around the world. They offer Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) users utility and productivity in positioning and navigation, and are relied upon by businesses, governments, communities and individuals. CORS networks are often established and managed by state governments to create a homogeneous spatial standard to underpin Spatial Data Infrastructure (SDI), reduce infrastructure duplication and make reliable positioning and navigation broadly accessible. CORS networks also allow governments to reduce investment in, and reliance on, dense networks of geodetic and survey control ground marks.

Establishing consistent CORS network management arrangements is important if nations such as Australia with large land area, relatively small population and limited communication infrastructure in rural and regional areas, are to maximise the benefits of high accuracy GNSS positioning. Four independent and uncoordinated state sponsored Real Time Kinematic (RTK) GNSS CORS networks, and one state government assisted private RTK CORS network, currently operate in Australia. Each network covers a limited area and delivers high accuracy positioning services, such as Network RTK (NRTK), primarily to densely populated regions. Consequently, nationally important applications in sparsely populated regions of Australia do not generally have access to NRTK services.

Optimising the utility and productivity of CORS networks depends as much on CORS network management arrangements and how well they meet institutional, legal, operational and commercial requirements, as it does on developing the technical capability of GNSS/CORS technology. Unified CORS network service provision over multiple jurisdictions, demands that CORS network management supports maximum compatibility, interoperability, compliance and marketability. Unification will also improve prospects of achieving a satisfactory return on investments in CORS networks while also helping to maintain and expand the infrastructure.

The research reported on in this thesis set out to determine the fundamental requirements of CORS networks management and to test that arrangements adopted to respond to the institutional, legal, operational and commercial requirements of one Australian state jurisdiction, can be applied nationally, to achieve management consistency.

Research was undertaken to investigate GNSS generally, CORS network management arrangements globally and the State of Victoria’s CORS network GPSnet specifically. Two questionnaires, one directed to GPSnet users and a second made available in Australia and internationally, collected data about user and stakeholder needs and expectations of RTK CORS networks. Responses to institutional, legal, commercial and operational requirements of CORS networks were specifically targeted and the collated data subjected to gap analysis which showed that user and stakeholder needs and expectations were largely being met by the outcomes of GPSnet management arrangements.

The conclusion drawn from the research was that GPSnet management arrangements can be used as a template for Australian jurisdictions to effectively deploy and consistently manage CORS networks across Australia. An implication drawn from the research is that GPSnet management arrangements can also be used to underpin a CORS Network Management Model (CNMM). A CNMM based on public-private partnerships to deploy and manage unified and sustainable infrastructure and deliver services is presented to stimulate future research.