GA to release open-source analysis GNSS toolkit

By on 27 September, 2021

The star Ginan (arrowed) in the Southern Cross. In the language of the Wardaman people, Ginan means ‘a red dilly-bag filled with songs of knowledge’. Image credit: ESO/Y. Beletsky.

Geoscience Australia  has released an alpha version of what it says is the first Australian-developed open-source software to provide real-time corrections to positioning signals of all the GNSS constellations.

The development is part of Geoscience Australia’s (GA) Positioning Australia program, which aims to boost the accuracy of location-based data from metres to centimetres.

The software has been called Ginan, after the name given by some of Australia’s First Peoples to a star (Epsilon Crucis) in the Southern Cross.

Geoscience Australia sought permission to use the name as part of its commitment to respectfully engage and collaborate with Australia’s First Peoples.

GA’s National Positioning Infrastructure Branch Head, Dr Martine Woolf, said the name of the software is a gift from the Wardaman people of the Northern Territory.

“In the language of the Wardaman people, Ginan means ‘a red dilly-bag filled with songs of knowledge’. We like to think of this software as being similar to a dilly-bag full of knowledge because of the benefits it will unlock,” Dr Woolf said.

“Ginan is also the name of the fifth-brightest star in the Southern Cross. Just as the Southern Cross helped the First Australians to navigate this land, the positioning capability we are developing here at Geoscience Australia will enable us to know exactly where we are and where we are going.”

Wardaman Elder, Diganbal Rosas said the dilly-bag is an important part of the Wardaman songline of the Katherine region.

“Ginan [in our language] has all of the Wardaman knowledge regarding connection to country — all of the stars, the skies, the country, the people and the kinship. Everything we do is held in that dilly-bag, in that Ginan,” Ms Rosas said.

“It is significant [that the Wardaman people have allowed Geoscience Australia to use this name] and I think it is a great opportunity for us to showcase our partnership.”

The Ginan software will improve the accuracy of location data from 10 metres down to 3 to 5 centimetres for users with an internet and mobile connection.

“Ginan will allow Australians to enjoy the benefits of precise positioning through the creation of new services and products, and in doing so drive Australia’s economic growth,” Dr Woolf said.

“Our precise location data will inform of near real-time atmospheric conditions, which is already being used by the Bureau of Meteorology to assist with their weather predictions.

“It will also enable a greater understanding of movements in the Earth’s crust and provide insight into earthquakes, sea level changes and the atmosphere.”

Ginan 1.0 will be publicly released in June 2022. An alpha version is available on the Ginan GitHub repository, with a beta version planned for user testing from February 2022.

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