Advanced data collection technology will be rolled out in a new survey method backed by a trebling of the number of fixed GPS reference stations – from 30 now to a projected figure of more than 100 across the whole country.
The mapping agency is cooperating with both the Met Office and RNLI to place GPS base stations on their facilities. The Met Office, for example, are utilising raw GPS data to help in the calculation of water vapour readings to aid weather forecasting.
The plan will make Ordnance Survey the first organisation in Britain to develop and use a complete national network of stations, enabling seamless Real Time Kinematic (RTK) GPS positioning at the few-centimetres level. With Network RTK, any number of surveyors can work at a time. The infrastructure will also potentially enable a basket of GPS correction, location-based services (LBS) and integrity monitoring solutions.
The overall project is designed to offer field collection efficiencies and to provide data currency and accuracy benefits for Ordnance Survey staff who already collect data for highly detailed mapping such as the new generation of digital data, OS MasterMap. Ordnance Survey is also investigating how to commercially make use of the potential products and services that will be made available from this infrastructure, through a process of consultation with its partners and the broader industry.
"Our new GPS infrastructure is designed to ensure that all our surveyors have access to instant GPS information, whatever their location," says Ordnance Survey’s Director of Data Collection and Management, Neil Ackroyd. "For Ordnance Survey this has the potential to deliver significant time and efficiency savings."
It will also help external users of the publicly available GPS data and coordinate transformation service on the National GPS network web site – www.gps.gov.uk . They include engineering and survey companies, asset managers, government departments and research scientists.