An artistic impression of Paksat 1R satellite. 3D model by Mohammad Amir Patni

KARACHI, Sept 25: Pakistan Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission (Suparco) is in the process of acquiring the global navigation satellite system (GNSS) in collaboration with China, which will give a boost to its satellite communication technology.

This was announced at the first symposium and exhibition on 'Global navigation satellite system and its applications' held at a hotel on Tuesday. The two-day event has been jointly organised by Suparco and China Satellite Navigation Office.

Discussing the importance of the navigation system, Suparco chairman retired major general Ahmed Bilal said that the symposium and exhibition was the first milestone for a regularised development of this technology in Pakistan.

He said that the technology, which was emerging in Pakistan with great success and at a very fast pace, had tremendous applications in the field of surveying and mapping, construction and deformation monitoring, transport and aviation management, mining and agriculture among others.

'Pakistan is rich in mineral resources and an efficient system of surveying is the demand of our industry,' he said, adding that computerisation of land parcel had also been undertaken by the government, while the Civil Aviation Authority was planning to deploy space-based and ground-based infrastructure in line with International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) recom-mendations and assuring the transition to GNSS.

Mr Bilal thanked China for its continuous assistance to Pakistan that he described as 'timely, reliable and selfless' and based on equality and respect for Pakistan's national sovereignty. He expressed gratitude to the Chinese for choosing Pakistan for the first-ever BeiDou (technology) application and demonstration outside China.

'For Pakistan, China is not just the best of ourfiends;it is also an inspiration for economic development based upon scientific principles, he said.

Mr Bilal congratulated China also on achieving the longest-ever manned space mission and reaching the deepest-ever ocean depth by any manned research vehicle in the world.

Reciprocating the sentiments, consul general of China, Karachi, Zhang Jiaxin and China Satellite Navigation Office Director Ram Chengqi congratulated Suparco on its latest endeavour, and said that the symposium was the first step towards a joint collaboration between Pakistan and China in the field of GNSS.

'This would undoubtedly add a new chapter to our bilateral scientific and technological cooperation and will surely diversify the meaning of Pak-China relationship and cooperation, said Mr Zhang. The consul general assured Pakistan of his support in the field and vowed to propel the strategic partnership into a new phase.

Zahid Jamal of Suparco gave an audio visual presentation on the GNSS technology and its application across the world, particularly in Pakistan.

Highlighting economic importance of the technology, he said that currently the GNSS market was worth over $150 billion, and was expected to increase to $35 billion by 2015. He then explained in detail the applications of the GNSS in regions like digital map production for road vehicle navigation, public safety and disaster management, mapping and resource positioning, mining and quarrying among others.

Explaining how Pakistan can benefit from the GNSS, Faisal Ahmed Khan of Suparco said that given that the country had no existing infrastructure in this field, this was the time to capitalise on the technology. He added that this had provided Pakistan with both economic and strategic opportunities.

Mr Khan then declared that Suparco was now calling for technology companies, academic and research institutions and investors and venture capitalists to help boost this venture.

The symposium also included technical reports on GNSS' role in monitoring and management of vehicles and ships, precision positioning and GIS, presented by both Chinese and Pakistani speakers.

The audience was shown a visual introduction to BeiDou and its application in various fields.

The exhibition will be open to public on Wednesday as well.


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