Geodesy & Geodynamics
Measuring & positioning
across our continent

Positioning Australia: A radio telescope of the Mt Pleasant Observatory in Tasmania. AuScope funded the purchase of one of three dishes at this facility. Image: © Mo Khodajouei

Positioning Australia: A radio telescope of the Mt Pleasant Observatory in Tasmania. AuScope funded the purchase of one of three dishes at this facility. Image: ©Mo Khodajouei

Over a decade ago, we set out to improve the accuracy of Australia's geospatial reference frame, to enable efficiencies across multiple industries, and to underpin higher calibre research in natural hazards and climate change.

With the Australian Government’s support, we invested in a suite of national geodetic infrastructure— radio telescopes and GNSS base stations and achieved this.

Now in 2018, we see that original AuScope investment underpinning Geoscience Australia’s next generation of national positioning infrastructure.


AuScope’s key geospatial infrastructure investment includes new and upgraded:

  • Very Long Baseline Interferometry (VLBI) array

  • Satellite Laser Ranging (SLR) facilities

  • Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS)
    ground stations and receivers, and

  • Gravity measurement (GM) instruments.



This Geospatial capability was established to provide the research community with access to state-of-the-art geodetic instruments that support the highest precision measurement of deformation of the solid Earth.

The AGOS Geospatial equipment, which is available for loan, is suitable for Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) related geospatial and geophysical experiments. Access to the equipment is prioritised according to the AGOS Geospatial Selection Criteria.

AGOS Geospatial equipment is available to all researchers on the basis of merit, as judged by an Access Committee on the basis of a short proposal. Researchers have to meet the project operating costs but training is provided in the use of the portable equipment. Applicants for access to AGOS Geospatial equipment are encouraged to contact Dr John Dawson, Geoscience Australia, to discuss their needs for prospective projects and then prepare a formal proposal. The equipment pool presently comprises 80 geodetic Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) receivers and antennas as well as solar panels that support their operation.

Applications to use AGOS equipment should be submitted to the AGOS Access Committee electronically by completing the AGOS Application Form which includes confirmation of institutional support (electronic signature is acceptable). The AGOS Geospatial Access Committee will deliberate periodically – normally four times per year in March, June, September, and December. The schedule of equipment allocations for successful proposals will be updated following the Access Committee deliberations. Successful applicants will be required to sign a project agreement. This is a simple form, confirming insurance arrangements and the liability of the proposer for losses and repairs. For more complex multi-party arrangements a formal Project agreement will be required to specify the nature of the project and the responsibilities of the parties.





The data produced from the new geospatial infrastructure will be central to research undertaken over the next decade in Australian geodesy. Estimates of the crustal deformation of the Australian plate at levels of accuracy previously unattainable can now be expected.

Data will be used to develop a new national geospatial reference frame, which will be an order of magnitude more accurate than any currently used in Australia. This reference frame will include models for the continual deformation of the crust.



Nicholas Brown
Geoscience Australia

Geoscience Australia

Since 2006

AUSTRAL VLBI observing program
AuScope geodetic VLBI array