Ordnance Survey data helps to deliver trust for pilots in trial navigation flight

Combining ground monitoring data with satellite connectivity to provide more reliable navigational data

3 minute read
OS Net base station data from Ordnance Survey (OS) has been instrumental in the success of the most recent trial flight using a UK Satellite-Based Augmentation System (UK SBAS) test signal.

The flight has been heralded as a crucial step forward in aviation safety, demonstrating in a testbed how trust could be delivered to pilots enabling them to stay safe in challenging conditions in the UK using precise, reliable navigation data.

UK SBAS works by combining ground monitoring data with satellite connectivity to provide more reliable navigational data. Its most recent test flight, which took place at Cranfield Airport, aimed to prove the capabilities of a UK-based SBAS to deliver more precise, resilient, and high-integrity navigation information for maritime and aviation users in UK waters and airspace, particularly for aviation. OS Net - the highly accurate and resilient infrastructure of Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) base stations across Great Britain - provided the necessary GNSS data to enable the programme team to integrate and process GNSS signals for integrity and position augmentation.

The successful trial offered enhanced positioning accuracy with respect to standard GPS through corrections, as well as integrity information that greatly increased the confidence in the position, enabling the pilots to further trust their onboard instruments.

This information is particularly important when visibility is impaired due to poor weather, enabling continued operations in worse conditions, and potentially enabling greater aviation safety. The testing will also pave the way for further trials in wider transport applications such as rail or autonomous road vehicles.

OS Net at OS Head Office, Southampton

"The demand for highly accurate, trusted, and easily accessible position and time services continues to grow, as digital technologies are further integrated into daily life. OS Net has provided an unrivalled level of accuracy in GNSS data for more than 20 years, which is why it has been instrumental in the UK SBAS trial. We are delighted to have been able to support such an important step forward in navigation for maritime and aviation users."

Steve Hancock, Lead Scientist for Position, Navigation and Timing at OS

OS Net has enabled the realisation of the coordinate reference frame for Great Britain for more than 20 years, and has provided data services that provide centimetre real-time positioning for OS surveyors and partners, including for weather forecasting for the Met Office. This critical level of accuracy and performance has been made possible by the resilience and national coverage provided by OS Net.

The UK SBAS test bed project was initiated late in 2021 by the UK Space Agency & Department for Transport, via the European Space Agency’s Navigation Innovation and Support Programme (NAVSIP), with trials being led by a Viasat/INMARSAT team and supported across the UK by Goonhilly Earth Station, CGI UK, GMV, OS, Cranfield University, the Cranfield National Flying Laboratory Centre, and Pildo Labs. The UK SBAS test programme provides an overlay to the US Global Positioning System which is aligned with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) standards.

See how OS Net could help and support your business

OS Net can help deliver efficiencies, providing access to a stable, national coordinate reference system

By Press Office

Sharing the latest news about OS. We can license you to use OS maps in print, online and film format. For more information and resources for journalists, bloggers and media professionals, email pressoffice@os.uk or call 023 8005 5565.