The IGNSS meeting was hosted at the University of NSW from 6-8 December 2016. IGNSS Society President Matt Higgins welcomed the 100+ delegates to the opening session and noted that this was the first time we were running the event with new conference organisers following the retirement of the Henshaws. He invited suggestions from members as to how the IGNSS society might reimagine itself into the future.
Our first keynote speaker was the Editor of GPS World Alan Cameron who described GPS in a world of mass market, consumer applications. He even proposed the script for a future Hollywood blockbuster; a disaster movie asking the question “what would happen if GPS failed?”. Rod Bryant, Senior director of positioning technology at u-blox brought us back to Earth with a thought provoking keynote investigating the positioning challenges associated with the increasing automation of many industries.
Representatives of key system providers from GPS, GLONASS and BeiDou brought delegates up-to-date with the current status and future plans for their respective global systems. Day 1 concluded with a panel session devoted to cooperative intelligent transport systems moderated by Professor Andrew Dempster which attempted to answer the question “How to achieve 1m 95% for C-ITS”. Paul Alexander from Adelaide based technology company, Cohda wireless set the scene with a presentation listing the challenges of positioning for autonomous vehicles. The diverse panel, consisting of representatives from Transport for NSW, Roads and Maritime Services, field robotics research from University of Sydney and transport engineering from UNSW, ensured that not only technical issues but also the many human factors were considered. A recurring theme was trust; not only in the engineering but also the perception of trust from the users. A fascinating discussion and broader than many of the delegates had anticipated.
The keynote session on Day 2 was a real highlight for the conference. Joe Winter, head of innovation, research and development at the Australian Institute of Sport gave an overview of how satellite positioning technologies combined with other measurement sensors are increasingly used to provide precise information to coaches and sports scientists. Mike Terkildsen from the Australian Bureau of Meteorology gave as an overview of space weather and how their team is enhancing their ability to map and model the ionosphere. The applications for precise positioning are important to IGNSS members.
For the first time in the southern hemisphere, satellite positioning and timing from the 66 strong Iridium constellation was demonstrated live by Dr Gregory Gutt, CTO of Satelles, inside the Colombo conference venue. A GPS signal from outside was brought into the building and the GPS time was compared with the Satelles receiver operating indoors. Timing to within 100ns was demonstrated, as well as positioning, completely independent of GPS. The presentation revealed the commitment the Satelles team have invested in providing an atomic time standard, ground stations, ephemerides calculations and upload in order to demonstrate their technology. This is seen as a future back up to GPS and IGNSS were very fortunate to premier this technology in Australia. Watch this space for further developments.
The much anticipated final panel session on Day 2 pitted a panel of industry achievers consisting of Nick Talbot (Trimble), Gary Johnston (Geoscience Australia), Nunzio Gambale (Locata) and Rod Bryant (u-Blox) against the academic luminaries Peter Teunissen (CUT), Chris Rizos (UNSW), Suelynn Choy (RMIT) and Andrew Dempster (UNSW). The topic of this panel, “the rise of multi-GNSS: will GPS be the gold standard in 5 years?” was almost torpedoed in the first 10 minutes as all panellists, both industry and academic, agreed that the complexities of combining multi-constellation, multi-signal, whilst difficult, would be overcome. The benefits of multi-GNSS far outweighed any problems currently being experienced however the conversation switched to a discussion of integrity and standards between systems and manufacturers. All were anxiously awaiting the application of Galileo E5 into their research and devices and indeed the new L1C signals being offered by GPS.
The unsettled weather of the first few days abated just in time for the Wednesday evening cruis on the magnificent Sydney Harbour which was a great way for delegates to relax and network in a social environment.
Throughout the whole program many parallel sessions featured scientific, research and applications papers in topics as diverse as algorithms and methods, SBAS, PPP, interference, space applications, alternatives to GNSS, CITS, multi-GNSS, mining and construction applications and GNSS hardware design. Two sessions were devoted to the new multi-GNSS analysis software capability and advances in datum modernisation being supported by delegates from Geoscience Australia.
A big congratulations goes out to Tao Li and Stavros Melachroinos who were awarded Best Paper for IGNSS2016 for their paper titled "Real-time Cycle Slip Detection and Repair for Network Multi-GNSS, Multi-frequency data".
The final BBQ lunch on day 3 was a relaxed way to wind down after a vibrant conference.
The technical advisory committee would particularly like to thank our Gold Sponsor GPSat Systems who have been supporting IGNSS for many years and continue to sponsor this event. Thanks also to our returning Silver sponsors Trimble, Smartnet Aus/CRKennedy and we welcomed our new Silver sponsors Advanced Navigation and Spectracom/ Vicom. Thanks also to our Bronze sponsors Propeller, Position Partners, IET Australia and Geoscience Australia. We look forward to your continued sponsorship at future IGNSS events.
From the technical advisory committee of the IGNSS2016 we would like to thank all the delegates who participated, all the authors who wrote papers and all the presenters who shared their ideas and energy with delegates. We look forward to your continued engagement.
We hope to see you all back in Sydney in February 2018 for IGNSS 2018
Technical Advisory Committee: President IGNSS Society Matt Higgins, Professor Andrew Dempster, Professor Chris Rizos, Associate Professor Allison Kealy, Martin Nix, Dr Craig Roberts, Dr Grant Hausler, Cheryl Brown (Event Manager)