'This will save lives' - Government announce $2 million investment into GPS technology

Minister for Land Information Eugenie Sage, alongside Minister for Transport Phil Twyford, today announced funding for a satellite-based augmentation system (SBAS).

Ms Sage says the technology would vastly improve the accuracy of GPS in New Zealand, enabling faster and safer helicopter rescues and innovation in a range of emerging technologies.

“Budget 2019 set aside nearly $2 million for Land Information New Zealand (LINZ) to work with its Australian counterpart, Geoscience Australia to investigate ways to deliver a regional Satelitte Based Augmentation System (SBAS) to significantly improve GPS accuracy,” Ms Sage says in a statement.

Both the ministers visited the Auckland Rescue Helicopter Trust to speak to pilots about how the new technology will support emergency helicopter crews to increase their accuracy, meaning they would be able to reach patients in challenging locations.

“Safety is our top priority and this technology will save lives,” says Mr Twyford.

“Improved GPS will provide rescue helicopter pilots with accurate vertical guidance for landing, meaning they can reach patients faster in difficult terrain and bad weather.

“This technology will also improve the safety of self-driving cars in the future, where precise positioning information will allow safer navigation and help avoid collisions," he says.

GPS is usually accurate to about 5-10 metres. The new system will improve accuracy to less than a metre and in some devices to 10cm, the statement says.