Not too long ago most people would have settled for geospatial data that was in the 100 m accuracy range, even GPS was providing that not long ago. And, the idea that we could create maps with others as easily as we do today was a dream – one now largely solved through open interfaces, standards and higher levels of interoperability.
Today GNSS technologies regularly achieve sub-meter accuracy’s and GIS software import them regularly, sometimes through real-time data links, processing the information from field instruments and mobile GNSS devices continuously.
Agencies like the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) recognise the value of GNSS and are taking steps to create Multi-GNSS Service Networks that can integrate GNSS data from numerous sources, later to be provided to GIS users. In other cases users can integrate the benfits of GNSS for their use. “RTK precision for land survey is mainstream, and GIS professionals are looking to improve accuracy in real-time; but for both, receiving RTK corrections is often either too difficult or costly.” explains Olivier Casabianca, GNSS Boards & Sensors marketing manager at Ashtech.
The GNSS-GIS link and it’s value is now beginning to show greater value, particularly as GLONASS becomes fully enabled. This was not the case before for several reasons. As George Zhao of CHC Navigation recently indicated in an interview, “…a significant share of potential users have still not made the step to acquire GNSS receivers – mainly due to lack of financial capacity, but also due to the limited return on investment available to them. This is why CHC stands by the principle of offering reliable yet affordable GNSS receivers.” In such cases the value of the GNSS-GIS connection needs greater promotion, since, the GIS side of the workflow publishes the results to the wider community for use and integration with applications.
Yet another piece of the technology pie needs attention. There is a growing realisation that new staff and employees need to become trained and involved in the interchange between high quality positioning and GIS application building that uses GNSS data as a foundation to produce value-added products. In this case, company’s like SuperGeo Technologies already recognise this link, the value ahead, and are offering training for GPS-GIS related education.
High value applications require high quality GNSS data and high quality GIS applications that support data integration which can integrate these data into solutions that demand higher accuracy.