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Australia GPS ‘wrong’ say scientists

02 August 2016 by News Desk

Australia GPS signals are currently not 100% accurate and urgent action must be taken.

Australia GPSAustralia GPS is used by ordinary smartphones, the emergency services, airlines and countless other vital services so it must be pinpoint accurate.

But natural movement of the earth’s tectonic plates means Australia is moving north by around seven centimetres every year and in the past decade the huge continent has moved by around one metre.

“This means GPS signals are not as accurate as they should be,” says Darrell Todd, founder of thinkingaustralia.

“In four years time, at the current rate of plate movement, Australia will have moved by around 1.8 metres. It does not sound like a lot, but if you’re using a driverless car, or maybe in charge of a combine harvester there could be serious consequences”.

Australia GPS ‘wrong’ say scientists

Australia’s version of GPS – the Geocentric Datum of Australia – was previously updated in 1994. Now scientists will adjust the country’s latitude and longitude settings to bring it into line with global GPS.

“We have to adjust our lines of latitude and longitude”, Dan Jaksa of Geoscience Australia told reporters. “…so the satellite navigation systems that we all use on our smartphones is aligned with digital map information”.

Smartphones are already accurate to within five metres so ordinary users have a few years ‘wiggle room’. But users in industrial, military, aviation, farming and mining sectors that rely on pinpoint accuracy need the planned changes to take place.

Australia also needs 100% accuracy in order to correctly measure the rate at which sea levels are rising.

“In the not too distant future we are going to have autonomous vehicles,” says Dan Jaksa who warns that an error of 1.5 metres could spell catastrophe. “It means that you’re in the middle of the road or in the wrong lane””

Australia’s new ‘official’ position will be announced in January 2017 after new measurements are taken and accurate data is uploaded to worldwide GPS systems.

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