Real potential of revolutionary GPS technology explored

The ground-breaking potential of a satellite-based Global Positioning System (GPS) network was the focus of a major consultation workshop in London.

Ordnance Survey and the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) offered more than 80 specialists in surveying and geographical information – from government, commercial and academic organisations – the chance to find out more about the mapping agency’s GPS base station framework that is now spread across the whole country.

Ordnance Survey is the first organisation in Britain to develop a complete national network of stations, enabling seamless Real Time Kinematic (RTK) GPS positioning at the centimetre level.
The use of this network has delivered significant efficiency improvements for Ordnance Survey cutting the costs of its surveying by more than 40% in some cases.

There are now plans to launch a commercial service using the base station data to allow other users to derive improved accuracy from GPS for a range of applications including construction and engineering surveying.

Neil Ackroyd, Ordnance Survey’s Director of Data Collection and Management, says: "The implementation of RTK GPS has been very successful for Ordnance Survey and has improved productivity and reduced surveying costs. Given the level of interest demonstrated at the workshop, we are confident that many other users can benefit from the use of the network data. The purpose of this consultation was to discover just what those benefits might be and how we and potential partners might develop products and services to fulfil such expectations."

James Kavanagh, Geomatics Director at RICS, says the response from members is very encouraging: "It is critical that RICS is at the forefront of, and fully involved in, new technological developments such as the proposed commercial GPS RTK network. I believe that the very high level of member interest fully justifies this strategy.

"It is only through collaborative events such as this one and by working in partnership with leading organisations such as Ordnance Survey that we can ensure that our members are equipped to serve the needs of society and industry in the future’.

The event was held at the RICS headquarters at Parliament Square, Westminster.