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ComNav helps bring GNSS benefits to Africa

ComNav Technology Ltd. is providing GNSS technology to Africa for projects in land mapping, continuously operating reference station (CORS) construction, precision agriculture and other fields, according to a Feb. 11 article in People’s Daily, the largest newspaper in China.

Every day, thousands of users in Africa are using GNSS products, the newspaper stated, highlighting specifically the use of China’s BeiDou satellite navigation system. For instance, CORS using ComNav GNSS/BeiDou receivers have been built in 11 sub-Saharan African countries, including Kenya and Uganda.

Uganda. To meet the demand for high-precision GNSS, the government of Uganda purchased ComNav’s real-time kinematic (RTK) receivers to build its own CORS. Thirty stations have been built so far, creating the most advanced CORS network in East Africa. Its high-precision spatial and temporal information supports land mapping, mining, vehicle management and meteorological monitoring, among other industries.

In 2015, Mulindwa David, chairman of the Uganda Surveying Association, and others visited the Shanghai headquarters of ComNav to learn about its high-precision products and technologies. After training, David and others mastered basic RTK operation and learned simple maintenance.

David used to carry heavy optical equipment every day, but now he only needs to hold a BeiDou receiver to process the relevant data, which has greatly improved his work efficiency and accuracy. “It took at least three days to survey a dozen kilometers of road with optical equipment,” he said. “With BeiDou high-precision receivers, only 10 hours is enough.”

The Uganda CORS network. (Image: ComNav)

The Uganda CORS network. (Image: ComNav)

Burkina Faso. In response to the COVID-19 outbreak, the Burkina Faso government decided to build a hospital for infectious diseases. In April 2021, it used ComNav GNSS high-precision technology to provide survey data for the hospital’s construction. The land security and topographic surveying tasks were completed in six days, half the time scheduled, said Augustin Bamouni, secretary-general of the country’s national surveying association.

A surveyor in Burkina-Faso surveys the site of a new hospital for infectious diseases. (Photo: ComNav)

A surveyor in Burkina-Faso surveys the site of a new hospital for infectious diseases. (Photo: ComNav)

Tunisia. The China-Arab BeiDou/GNSS Center is located in the Ghazara Science Park in northern Tunis, the capital of Tunisia. Inaugurated in 2018, it is China’s first overseas BeiDou center, providing satellite navigation training, test evaluation and technical research for African and Arab countries. On average, the center receives real-time data from more than 12 BeiDou satellites at once.

The center will help Tunisia and other African countries train professionals in GNSS technology to support development of the digital economy, according to Amiri Khalil, state secretary in charge of scientific research at Tunisia’s Ministry of Higher Education.

China-Arab Beidou/GNSS Center is in Tunis, Tunisia. (Photo: ComNav)

China-Arab BeiDou/GNSS Center is in Tunis, Tunisia. (Photo: ComNav)

China-Africa Forum. The first China-Africa BeiDou System Cooperation Forum was held in November 2021 in Beijing to encourage cooperation between China and Africa and promote use of BeiDou. Four cases from ComNav Technology were described in the forum’s document citing application scenarios of BeiDou in Africa.

ComNav Technology has deepened its cooperation with Africa since China’s Belt and Road Initiative began in 2013. Besides providing products and technologies, ComNav arranged employees to go abroad to provide technical support, traveling to Cameroon, Nigeria, Mali, Zambia, and other African countries. Despite the pandemic, ComNav continues to provide professional service and training both in person and remotely.

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