September 2015

Feature Story

28 September 2015

The success of the CRCSI Positioning Program will lead to real-time Precise Point Positioning (PPP) solutions in Australia. By 2018 the Japanese Quasi-Zenith Satellite System (QZSS) owned satellites will provide 24 hour coverage across East Asia and the Oceania region that covers Australia and (with extension) New Zealand.

East Asia and Oceania mapMap of East Asia and Oceania region


The economic impact of this real-time positioning capability for Australia through productivity improvements and better resource efficiencies are estimated at around $13.7 billion by 2020.

How we found the solution?

The CRCSI Positioning Program partners with a breadth of agencies to bring capability and build expertise.

These agencies are represented by Japan’s Aerospace Exploratory Agency (JAXA), Curtin University, RMIT University, UNSW, QUT, the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (VIC), NSW Land and Property Information and the Australian Government’s Geoscience Australia as well as many 43pl members.

With only 9% of Australia (in 2012) covered by precise positioning services a novel approach to precise positioning was required.

The practical solution was found in satellite based communications infrastructure with the Japanese QZSS emerging as a viable option.

The first of the Japanese QZSS satellites was launched and made user-ready in June 2011, with a further four being launched in 2018 and a total seven by 2023. These satellites will function as global navigation satellite system (GNSS) augmentation covering East Asia and the Oceania region and allow for independent regional navigation satellite systems (RNSS) positioning.

The benefit of the QZSS over the US based GPS is the design that enables high accuracy (centimetre to decimetre level) positioning in real-time.

The focus of the research was to establish the usability (capability and feasibility) of the QZSS signal to provide high accuracy real-time positioning services to Australia in ‘outdoor anytime’ situations.

The researchers through collaboration with JAXA were able to access (for the first time outside of Japan) the broadcast of GNSS generated augmentation corrections on the signal.

Ground track of QZO satellites with black marker showing nominal position of first GEO satelliteGround track of QZSS satellites – The contour lines represent the number of hours a day when the signal will be available in 2018 with some simple patch antennas it is likely Australia will have 24 hour access to the QZSS signal. The black marker shows the nominal position of first GEO satellite.

The technical findings

The key findings of this research include:

  • QZSS L-band experimental (LEX) signal has sufficient data capacity to deliver standard PPP and ambiguity resolved PPP solutions within its coverage area
  • The performance of two LEX delivered corrections were evaluated: JAXA’s PPP corrections and a prototype Australian-generated PPP corrections developed by the project team
  • Both solutions provide horizontal positioning accuracy of 5cm or better, and 10cm vertically
  • Two hours of convergence is still required for PPP to achieve these accuracies
  • PPP with ionospheric corrections requires efficient ionospheric modelling and representation for transmission by the LEX signal. The options explored are: 

Existing Global Ionospheric Maps (GIM). The corrections provide minimal improvement to the convergence time, as the GIM does not have sufficient accuracy required to improve the performance of PPP

Slant Total Electron Content (TEC) corrections are too data intensive for practical transmission by the LEX signal. Slant TEC improves the solution convergence time.

Precision Agriculture in Action

Trialling the Japanese satellite QZSS for precision agriculture in Australia, the project team was able to demonstrate an accuracy of 5cm during farming operations in Jerilderie, southern NSW


The Communication Nub

with Jessica Purbrick-Herbst

Focus Workshops

In response to a growing need to embed what we do with our partners and participants, we have developed a series of focus workshops. These events will take place in the coming months. We are keen to connect – through our partners – with the users of our research. The five research areas that will be showcased are:

  • Positioning
  • Rapid Spatial Analytics and Spatial Infrastructures
  • Agriculture and Natural Resources
  • Built Environment
  • Health

Current workshop locations and dates are:

October 2015 – Sydney

  • 22 October – Rapid Big Data Solutions

November 2015 – Perth

  • 12 November – Built Environment

December 2015 – Christchurch

  • 9 December – Built Environment and Rapid Big Data Solutions

February 2016 – Sydney

  • Health – Maximising the value of your data

Further events will be hosted in Brisbane and Melbourne in early 2016 and be themed towards the relevance of local partners.

This workshop series will bring innovative spatial solutions to emerging spatial problems and provide opportunities for our partners to bring these technologies to their clients straight from the research area. This series will also increase opportunities for the successful adoption of research through universities and research institutes by access to and connection with industry and the users of spatial information tools.

Please contact me if you are interested in attending.

The Spatial Stone

Thanks to all who contributed commentary to the starting place of the Spatial Stone. There is some interest in establishing a wiki page as an open sourced area for the sector to grow and connect. Anyone interested in championing this wiki page please do let me know.

I will however continue the collection and interpretation of our spatial vocabulary on the CRCSI website.


To streamline the process of submitting research ideas, we have developed a two page project proposal concept document which can be downloaded from here. Please use this document to submit research ideas to Research Director Dr Phil Collier.

Further details about research opportunities can be found online.

Education Day Pitch

The annual CRCSI education day will be held in conjunction with the conference in Melbourne on Tuesday 24 November. Our 25 current PhD and masters students will learn how to bring their projects, research and passion to life culminating in a pitch to industry experts, academics and the private sector.

We are looking for a panel of industry, academic and private sector experts to attend this event at RMIT on Tuesday 24 November from 3-5pm. The students will pitch their ideas (no more than four minutes per pitch) and receive feedback on their performance. The top three student pitches will be selected to pitch at the conference.
All students will use these new skills during the conference in the exhibition area and will have opportunities across the three days to hone and improve their offering.

Please get in touch with me if you are interested in being part of the panel. Building our student capacity as leaders of the global spatial sector is important to our industry.

43pl Members

from David Sinclair

43pl Options Paper 2015-2020

Earlier this month I distributed to 43pl members our Options Paper 2015-2020. This paper was developed as a result of a review of the future role 43pl will play in the CRCSI post 2018.

A sustainable entity past 2018

The paper outlines opportunities for future involvement with the CRCSI, how we as a company representing around 45 SMEs will support future work and investment in the CRCSI post 2018.
The key initiatives in the paper relate to:

  1. Service delivery – a greater depth and range of services including the already implemented CRCSI business development network across Australia and New Zealand
  2. Subscription reform options as fee for service and/or annual subscriptions with a larger upper end involving a guaranteed minimum service level delivery against a graded scale of benefits
  3. Advocacy – 43pl/CRCSI has the opportunity to formalise its role as the peak, go-to, advocacy body for industry innovation and R&D
  4. Structural reform – the 43pl and CRCSI Boards working more closely together whilst examining a full merger of the two entities and Boards
  5. New Zealand entity – the creation of a New Zealand entity as part of the CRCSI ‘group’
  6. Paid research and innovation projects – grow the current strong record of winning paid research and development projects from third parties
  7. Industry competitive agenda – opportunities through the R&D Tax Incentive and Industry Growth Centres
  8. Creation of an innovation fund – an innovation stimulus fund with zero interest loans at a value of no more than 50% of the total project funds.

All the details can be found in the Options Paper which was distributed to 43pl members in August.

I ask that all 43pl members take the time to review the paper and provide comment and feedback no later than Wednesday 30 September to e. jpurbrickherbst@crcsi.com.au

CRCSI Annual Conference 2015

Hosted in Melbourne from Wednesday 25 to Friday 27 November, the conference brings together Australia’s leading spatial research, global influencers and the private sector to share opportunities to collaborate, adopt new research and utilise the tools that have been developed.
There are opportunities during the CRCSI Annual conference to match the spatial industry and with our 100 plus partners.

To connect with these opportunities make sure you contact your regionally located CRCSI business development manager.

New members

Welcome to new 43pl member Address Exchange. Joining this year, Address Exchange known as AddEx, is a cloud-based data exchange for address data based in Melbourne.

The AddEx design allows any one address to reference multiple contributor details including location(s), validity, site type and custodianship information. Further details about AddEx can be found here.

Seeking Project Partners

Seeking project partners to build capacity in Rapid Spatial Analytics

The Rapid Spatial Analytics program – through partners at QUT, RMIT, UNSW and Curtin University – has developed projects that speed up the processing and sharing of cloud-based analytics in three priority areas. These are:

  • Open Spatial Analytics. Design and develop tools to allow users to document, share and re-use the intelligence that enables vital spatial applications. Why? Australian governments are under pressure to reduce the costs of managing fundamental spatial data. Open analytics can reduce the amount of time and money spent on creating and value adding to these data sets. 
  • What If? Analytics. Demonstrate how exploratory tools can support the valuation process. Why? Current valuation methods rely on human intuition, intelligence and experience without the use of spatial tools for exploring data that might hold vital clues to the causes of value changes or future trends – such as street level details and the side of street (for views), a block (if within a school zone) or capturing the spatial elements of policy announcements, like a tunnel or rail extension. 
  • Where are People Now Going? Software tools and algorithms capable of creating new intelligence about large-scale and coordinated human mobility dynamics. Why? Real-time data sets from a variety of sources, including crowd sourced, social media, and sensor-based data streams will allow transportation planning, emergency response, insurance and health agencies to understand the patterns of human movement.

If interested in partnering with these projects please contact RSA Program Manager Dr Nathan Quadros on e. nquadros@crcsi.com.au to discuss.

Results in Education

Creating value in urban transit systems

Since 2010 the CRCSI has invested in 35 PhD and masters students with an impact of around $8 million. Our students are supported through a CRCSI scholarship and top-up scholarship across the life of their research proposal. There are currently 25 students working across the CRCSI research areas, adding valuable techniques, developing methodologies and contributing significantly to the results of the spatial information industry.

One recently completed student is James McIntosh. With a background from the private sector and a desire to examine and explain 'value' created by urban transit, James embarked on a PhD with CRCSI partner Curtin University.

An extract of James’ published work – Framework to capture the value created by urban transit in car dependent cities can be found below.

Many cities globally are dependent on cars to meet urban transportation needs due to the evolution of the urban form and the nature of the provision of urban mass transit in the period after the Second World War.

To stem or reduce car dependence, city governments are now investing in urban rapid transit and redeveloping cities around it. The high cost of the investment in retrofitting rapid transit systems into existing urban fabric has seen many major transit projects stuck in financial and economic assessment due to inadequate links between land use, transport and funding planning and policy. Through the development of a hedonic price modelling (pricing models that determine the variations in housing prices that reflect the value of local environmental attributes) the impact of transit investment on car dependent city land markets for Perth, Western Australia demonstrated an increase in urban land values and a significant willingness to pay for access to transit infrastructure and services and land parcels with the capacity for higher development density.

The financial impact on existing land and property taxes and charges because of this willingness to pay for transit and urban density in Perth was demonstrated in a value capture financial model. A case study established that the investment in the Mandurah Rail Line in Perth, Western Australia confirmed that significant financial revenue was generated from the investment and if captured, could have significantly defrayed the cost of the investment.

To achieve the capture of these land market taxation benefits, a tax increment financing framework is proposed so that this additional revenue source could be used to defray the cost of the infrastructure investment.

The development a universal value capture framework to both passively and actively capture some or all of the land and property market benefits relating to new urban transit infrastructure will help offset the cost of the transit investment and the regeneration of our cities’ urban fabric.

A value capture framework enables a rigorous economic and financial assessment to the development of the urban infrastructure policies and practices to reduce car dependence. As the value capture framework is based on economic analysis and research, this will support more appropriate means of financially assessing the projects by understanding not only the project costs, but all the benefits created as well, and using some or all of these benefits to defray the cost of integrated transit and urban densification projects.

The result of this research by James has led to the development of private practice and consulting expertise in the spatial, econometric and statistical methods to analyse and solve technical and policy problems in urban regions.

Commercial Opportunities

As an initiative of 43pl, the CRCSI Intellectual Property Registry highlights 15 commercial and technology investment opportunities.

A sample – Building Liveable Cities

Just like Sim City but for the real world, the ENVISION software suite allows urban planners and developers to imagine the future using the data from today. With this imagining comes the ability to plan for sustainable buildings, walkable precincts, a sense of community, and a new place to live and work that delivers sustainable opportunities and better economic outcomes to our urban environment.

ENVISION – developed as a web based toolset in 2013 – is a shared urban spatial information platform that brings together a wide range of planning related datasets for exploring the re-development potential of local government areas on a lot-by-lot basis.

ENVISION provides the analysis of existing spatial information.

The tool draws on data sets related to property valuations, demolitions, zoning, transportation, demographics, water infrastructure, power infrastructure and the location of parks, schools and activity centres.
The output of this information is the creation of indicators that can be combined and mapped in a single user friendly environment.
ENVISION Scenario Planning (ESP) tools use the outputs of ENVISION analysis to develop a series of scenarios based on pre-determined criteria. This criteria may include; low carbon living, green or shared community space, allocation for school development or growth, public housing and mid-to-high rise development corridors.

ESP develops scenarios based on the outputs of ENVISION.

Currently under development is the augmented reality software that will enable urban planners and developers to visualise the scenarios of ESP using mobile devices across existing infrastructure and land use.
Further details about this and other CRCSI IP opportunities and investment can be found online or by contacting CRCSI Business Development Manager George Curran.

Where We Work

NSW Update

The CRCSI NSW located Business Development Manager Dr Zaffar Mohamed-Ghouse is working closely with partner Land and Property Information (LPI) to apply our research outcomes to NSW’s spatial information needs.

Hosting a one day workshop in Bathurst (LPI’s information factory), the CRCSI was able to map opportunities to collaborate with existing research applications that are relevant to state based organisations such as LPI.

The themes to emerge from the workshop and which are relevant to other similar organisations are:

  • Inter-jurisdiction collaboration
  • Open-source offerings and how they work
  • Spatial enablement across land valuations
  • Exploring new ways to access imagery repositories
  • Elevation data and climate change impact
  • Search and discovery use of language to search across information sources
  • The use of LiDAR and imagery processes

NSW LPI WorkshopL-R: (front row) Wayne Patterson, Paul Harcombe, David Abernethy (back row) Glenn Johnson, Lew Hayley, Zaffar Monhamed-Ghouse and Stephen McRobert

Conferences & Events

1 Oct 2015

Future Smart Cities