2018 Wrap-Up from the Conference Chairs
The IGNSS meeting was again hosted at UNSW from Wednesday 7th to Friday 9th February 2018. Due to this timing, six separate meetings were held prior or during the IGNSS namely the RTCM-SC104 meeting (Mon), the ICSM PCG meeting, a Trimble GNSS user group meeting, the QZSS Japan- Australia forum (130+ delegates on Tues) and the NPI Advisory Board meeting on Thursday morning. These meetings were a vindication of the attraction IGNSS has for the domestic PNT community. Further the number of registrants for the IGNSS2018 was up from around 120 to 146.
IGNSS Association Inc President Matt Higgins welcomed the delegates to the conference and explained the theme of the conference: Trustworthy Positioning (from here to autonomy) and that there would be more of a focus on defence. The keynote speakers were therefore Air-Vice Marshall Kim Osley (Dept of Defence) and Kent Rosser (DST Group). Both spoke about the many new applications being enabled by PNT and the challenges faced in denied environments. Stuart Ballingal (Austroads) rounded out a great first session with the application of trustworthy positioning for autonomous vehicles.
Representatives of key system providers from GPS (Harold (Stormy) Martin), Galileo (Augusto Gonzalez) and QZSS (Satoshi Kogure) updated the meeting on latest advances on these systems after morning tea. Meanwhile a smaller technical session on GNSS receiver development and signal processing was taking place in parallel.
IGNSS took the advantage of providing a forum for the current SBAS test-bed trail currently underway in Australia. The plenary session started off with some broader comments from John Dawson (Geoscience Australia), Matt Amos (New Zealand Govt) and Robert Jackson (Lockheed Martin). This was followed by two more targeted presentations looking at some road projects. Delegates were then invited to walk outside and witness a live demonstration from representatives from GMV (Spain) who showcased their new MagicUT user terminal and indeed showed all 3 modes of SBAS positioning.
The final session of the day continued with SBAS specific projects in aviation, construction, agriculture, maritime and spatial. An industry exclusives parallel session was hosted concurrently to showcase the latest from GPSat systems, Tersus, Trimble, Position Partners and Spectracom. The final day concluded with some networking drinks in the foyer.
Thursday morning commenced with the AGM for the IGNSS Association Inc. President Matt Higgins addressed the audience and explained that this group had always supported the conference and kept membership free and quite casual. However with the new Australian Space Agency on the horizon, the current activity with the SBAS trials and the threats posed by Ligado in the US to high precision GNSS positioning, Matt suggested that the IGNSS Assoc Inc may have to evolve into a more formalised group. Discussion also focussed around the frequency of upcoming conferences. Most agreed that and annual conference was too frequent but that every 2 years was too seldom. A Survey-Monkey style questionnaire will be formulated and sent to the membership to seek suggestions for the way forward.
Rod Bryant started the plenary session with a great presentation about the challenges and progress being made at U-blox with regard to autonomous positioning. This was followed by Professor Sisi Zlatanova, a new strategic hire for UNSW. She talked about space identification for indoor positioning which promoted, amongst other things, lots of interest in defence and emergency management applications.
Technical sessions commenced in earnest after morning tea with three parallel sessions covering themes from indoor positioning, algorithms and methods to vulnerability, resilience and risk. The after lunch session was also split into three parallel sessions covering: Cooperative positioning and UAVs: Datums and Geodesy: Augmentation and Correction services.
One of the highlights of the conference was the panel session entitled “Positioning in Autonomous Systems” moderated by Professor Andrew Dempster and featuring panellists Stuart Ballingal, Dorota Grejner-Brzezinska (Ohio State University), Rod Bryant, Kent Rosser and Eduardo Nebot (Aust. Centre for Field Robotics, Uni of Sydney). All panellists provided a brief introduction of their work. Kent, Eduardo and Dorota spoke of their existing platforms and challenges faced whilst Rod spoke of new systems approaches to defining position and Stuart spoke of the policy surrounding these advances in the transport sector. The issue of how to actually quantify position in moving platforms with respect to “truth” remains a challenge, however the conversation also swung toward more societal concerns. For instance what if the death toll due to car accidents was significantly reduced by the use of autonomous systems in the future, but some deaths still remained due to non-human systems. How will this affect uptake by the wider community? This was a rich panel session with much to be learnt for all present.
The conference concluded early to allow delegate time to prepare for the traditional IGNSS Harbour cruise. The weather was perfect and delegates were treated to magnificent harbour views, a delicious buffet dinner and a bar full of refreshing beverages. A terrific night was had by all.
Day 3 commenced right on time with an overview of the pending Australian Space Agency presented by Stuart Minchin (Geoscience Australia) representing the expert review group. This was followed by Jeffrey Auerbach (US State Dept) representing the ICG (International Coordination of GNSS). It was clear that from humble beginnings the ICG has certainly matured into an important collaborative organisation to ensure all GNSS systems remain compatible, interoperable and transparent. Dominic Hayes (European Commission) wrapped up this plenary session covering developments in Europe with regard to Galileo, EGNOS and ESA.
A final parallel technical session covering PPP in one room and ITS and its legalities in another, was capped off with a final plenary session from guest presenter Professor Dorota Grejner-Brzezinska (President of the US Institute of Navigation) discussing PNT for smart cities and posing the challenging question, “Are we ready for autonomous vehicles?”.
After two and a half days of mind expanding presentations, delegates were treated to a final outdoor gourmet BBQ and networking drinks before heading home.
The technical advisory committee would particularly like to thank our Platinum Sponsor Lockheed-Martin. Also thanks to our regular Gold Sponsor GPSat Systems who have been supporting IGNSS for several decades now (!) as well as Geoscience Australia and the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering. Thanks also to our returning Silver sponsors Trimble, Spectracom/Vicom and the Office of the Chief Scientist and Engineer and we welcomed our new Silver sponsors Tersus. Thanks also to our Bronze sponsors Position Partners and media sponsors GPS World, Coordinates magazine and Spatial Source. We look forward to your continued sponsorship at future IGNSS events.
From the technical advisory committee of the IGNSS2018 we would like to thank all the delegates who participated, all the authors and reviewers who wrote/reviewed 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 in 2019!
Technical Advisory Committee: President IGNSS Society Matt Higgins, Professor Andrew Dempster, Dr Craig Roberts, Professor Allison Kealy, Elizabeth Smith, Martin Nix, Professor Chris Rizos, Dr Stavros Melachroinos