ARKKI project to improve satellite-based positioning and navigation in the Arctic
The Arctic region offers great business potential but requires that actors and technology take the region’s conditions into account. The ARKKI project of the Finnish Ministry of Transport and Communications and the Finnish Geospatial Research Institute is investigating the challenges to satellite navigation in the Arctic and seeks solutions to them. According to the Ministry, the project was launched in October 2017 and encompasses the region within the Arctic Circle and also the region of the Gulf of Bothnia.
Satellite navigation is the pillar of various transport modes increasingly often, and intelligent transport based on it is on the rise in all modes of transport. The challenge for Finland and many other countries of the Arctic region, however, is the uneven coverage of the satellite navigation systems in the region, which slows down the effective introduction of autonomous transport, in particular. Therefore it is important that the same efficient and reliable navigation technology is available in the Arctic as at lower latitudes.
In addition to business opportunities, safer positioning and more reliable location data provide a base for improving the quality of life and safety and for a new kind of environmental protection as well.
While holding the Chairmanship of the Arctic Council in 2017–2019, Finland intends to focus intensely on improving communications preparedness in the Arctic region and on services supporting maritime transport, which are closely linked to navigation and geospatial information.
As the first step of the project, a user survey is carried out to determine the views of representatives of various sectors and transport modes regarding the challenges of satellite-based positioning, navigation and other use of geospatial information in the Arctic. In addition, the project will go through the availability of different technical methods and systems for solving the problems that arise in the survey. An objective important for Finland is, for instance, to determine the possibilities small satellites offer for improving positioning and navigation. To conclude the project, an international seminar will be organised to discuss possible future measures.
The project’s international network includes, among others, the European Commission, the European Global Navigation Satellite Systems Agency (GSA) and the European Space Agency (ESA). The cooperation partners are representatives of domestic and Arctic region sectors applying navigation and satellite navigation, such as transport and surveying, as well as authorities and universities.
The project is part of the Government’s key project to build a growth environment for digital business operations.