Precise positioning services in the Maritime sector (2013)


The report provides an estimate of the economic and social benefits of the use of augmented positioning services in the maritime sector.

The maritime sector relies on accurate positioning for safe navigation and operation of ships in confined waters, in environmentally sensitive areas and for operations in the offshore oil and gas sector. Integrity is as important as position. Navigation standards specify a time to alarm of 10 seconds.

Geographical scope


Non-quantified impacts

  • GNSS has become a component of position fixing for ships and will improve, replace or supplement existing position fixing systems some of which have shortcomings in regard to integrity, availability, control and system life expectancy.
  • Augmented GNSS is used in many operations including navigation in ports and environmentally sensitive areas, operation of tugs, dredging and construction works, hydrographic geotechnical surveys and for offshore oil and gas operations.
  • The maritime sector draws on all types of augmentation systems including the Differential GPS service provided by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority, RTK stand-alone, CORS networks where available and wide area space-based services.
  • There are a wide range of economic and social benefits that arise from the use of augmented GNSS in the maritime sector. The value of safety of life at sea and the protection of the marine environment against oil spills is very significant.
  • The shipping industry is moving towards an e-navigation concept where a range of electronic and radio navigation technologies will provide safe and secure support for navigation by mariners. Augmented GNSS is one of the supporting technologies for e-navigation

Quantifiable impacts

The economic and social benefits of navigation technologies relying on augmented GNSS include:

  • Reducing the frequency of groundings in Torres Strait saving between AUD 0.6 million and AUD 0.8 million per year on average in clean up and salvage costs.
  • Under keel clearance management systems to be introduced in 2013 which could deliver benefits of between AUD 10 million and AUD 13 million per year to the shipping industry by 2020.


Savings in port infrastructure from improved channel tolerances reducing the cost of buoys and dredging by around AUD 1.8 million in 2012 and AUD 2 million in 2020.

  • Reduced environmental risks from oil spills estimated of around AUD 1.9 million in 2012 and AUD 3.4 million in 2020.
  • Around 10 per cent saving in lost down time for geophysical surveys worth around AUD 5 million in 2012 and AUD 10 million in 2020.


The total amount attributable to the maritime sector total to around AUD 4.2 million in 2012 and 16.2 million by 2020. These amounts represent around 0.07 per cent and 0.30 per cent of total output from the maritime sector. The savings in seismic surveying have been attributed to the mining sector for the economic analysis.



Study type

Case studies feeding into CGE modelling

Economy sector