Leica Geosystems Mining has announced an exclusive industry partnership with Locata Corporation Pty Ltd to provide the mining industry with the world’s only high precision radio positioning system that is not reliant on GPS.
Known as the Leica Jigsaw Positioning System (Jps), Leica Geosystems Mining will provide this new technology as a part of their Jigsaw product suite. Leica Jps provides an unprecedented level of reliability for high precision positioning by deploying ground-based LocataLite transmitters which augment conventional GPS systems. The LocataLites work without needing the additional corrections, communication or other assistance normally used for GPS high precision systems.
A high precision positioning network utilising GPS alone requires a good view of the sky with sufficient geometry. In a mine, if a significant number of the satellites are blocked, the positioning fails. This is a common occurrence in deep pits and against high walls. With mine production efficiency being increasingly reliant on GPS positioning, this type of system failure is a major issue.
The issue has been overcome by Locata technology. Leica Jps, powered by Locata, provides the LocataLites as “a new constellation of ground-based satellites” or alternative points of reference. These additional points of reference can be used in conjunction with, or completely independent of, the GPS satellite network.
The mine, instead of relying solely on GPS satellites to provide high precision positioning, can maintain availability and accuracy by using the Leica Jps alternative reference points in combination with any available GPS satellites. For example, three GPS satellites can be used in combination with two LocataLites to still provide a high precision position - something which would not normally be possible.
Leica Jps can augment the Jps LocataLite signals with the GPS signals to give uninterrupted operation, thereby solving the problem of blocked satellite signals and resultant downtime. A Leica Jps network has been successfully deployed and used in Western Australia on a large open cut gold mine in exactly this manner, supporting their High Precision guidance systems as a part of the product development process.
How it works
One of the fundamental requirements for GPS-style positioning is that all of the transmitters are synchronized to each other. Atomic clocks are used in all of the GPS satellites to achieve this. In a ground-breaking technical advance, however, the LocataLite transmitters can achieve this extremely high level of synchronization without using any atomic clocks. Within minutes of being turned on, the LocataLites generate an autonomous, nanosecond-accurate positioning network through a new synchronization process called “TimeLoc”. In this manner, each LocataLite unit becomes the functional equivalent of a 100 million dollar GPS satellite and so creates an alternative point of reference for the HP positioning network.
LocataLites are placed in any mining area requiring additional coverage. They can be permanently positioned on site or moved at will (or any combination thereof) ensuring the mine’s Leica Jps network is set up exactly where and when needed.
A world first
The Locata network can be deployed completely independent of any GPS network, using only the LocataLites as points of reference. Locata therefore provide a fully operational, stand-alone high precision positioning network. No other technology has ever been able to achieve this previously.
Leica Geosystems Mining is the first company to commercialise the Locata system as a Locata integration partner. This new technology is truly considered ground-breaking and shows Leica Geosystems Mining’s commitment to state-of-the-art solutions for their customers.
Further evidence of Locata technology’s “cutting edge” status was delivered on Friday 16th September 2011 when the United States Air Force, who originally developed GPS, announced Locata is contracted to continue providing them accurate positioning when GPS is completely jammed on their test range. The USAF will use the Locata system for cm-accurate positioning over a vast 2,500 sq. miles (6,500 sq. km’s) of the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico. (http://mwne.ws/USAF_LocataNet)
A high-technology development company headquartered in Canberra Australia, Locata has been working on this technology breakthrough for 16 years. Over the past four years the on-site mining system has been developed in partnership with Leica Geosystems Mining. Locata today has 82 secured patents and more than 160 pending, and many industries will soon be seeing much more of this incredible start-up. Mr Nunzio Gambale, CEO and founder of Locata explains, “We have been working closely with Leica Geosystems to develop the Jigsaw Positioning System (Jps), which is powered by Locata technology and is a part of the Leica Jigsaw product suite. Locata, across the open pit mine area, is ensuring that Jps customers have solid, operational cm-level positioning which is independent of GPS.” He continues, “The Locata team is extremely proud that Leica, the world’s biggest GPS company, is the first to deploy a commercial system using our technology. You’re going to hear a lot more about Locata as we start rolling out this “science-fiction” level of positioning to environments where it has never been available before. We believe our inventions are about to change the world of positioning for ever.” Mr Haydn Roberts, CEO, Leica Geosystems Mining states, “We are determined to remain the world’s leading measurement technology company, offering only the very best in measurement solutions. Key to our strategic plan is the continued acquisition and development of leading technology, focussed R&D and the formation of strong, exclusive partnerships with companies that are absolute leaders in their fields. Companies like Locata Corporation. I am very excited to offer the mining industry the incredible technological break-through that our partnership with Locata represents. Together we are providing something that no-one else can – OEM independent, GPS independent high precision positioning networks for mines and beyond.“
Leica Geosystems – when it has to be right
With close to 200 years of pioneering solutions to measure the world, Leica Geosystems products and services are trusted by professionals worldwide to help them capture, analyse, and present spatial information. Leica Geosystems is best known for its broad array of products that capture accurately, model quickly, analyse easily, and visualize and present spatial information. Those who use Leica Geosystems products every day trust them for their dependability, the value they deliver, and the superior customer support. Based in Heerbrugg, Switzerland, Leica Geosystems is a global company with tens of thousands of customers supported by more than 3’500 employees in 28 countries and hundreds of partners located in more than 120 countries around the world. Leica Geosystems is part of the Hexagon Group, Sweden.